Commuters are facing a double-whammy of industrial action just as the summer holidays come to end.
The RMT has announced another strike on 7 September on the Govia Thameslink network in a dispute over the future role of station staff.
The 24 hour walk-out follows confirmation of a 70 per cent vote for strike action of ballot of members in relation to Govia's intention to change staff roles at stations and create "Station Hosts".
A separate two day strike starting on 7 September was announced on Tuesday in relation to the RMT's long-running dispute with Southern Rail about the role of guards on its services.
Southern is part of the Govia network and has previously run a skeleton service during industrial action. It is not currently known what this will mean for commuters on 7 September when both strikes are scheduled to go on concurrently.
Crispin Blunt MP, whose Reigate constituency is affected by the ongoing issues with Southern said:
As trains and technology modernise, the roles of rail staff need to adapt to deliver an efficient rail service and better customer service.
The RMT is only interested in defending out-of-date working practices.
To inflict this level of disruption on one of the busiest rail networks in Europe over the mere extension of an existing and widely-used technology to new trains, and when so many guarantees over pay and conditions have been made, is nothing short of a total disgrace.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
The Govia Thamelink franchise is in meltdown and not fit for purpose. Not content with axing catering services, closing ticket offices and attacking the role of their guards they now want to threaten 130 station jobs and compromise the safety of both their passengers and staff alike.
Our members have made it clear that they will not stand by while this basket-case franchise unleashes yet another attack on jobs and services in the drive for profits and that is why we have no option but to take strike action.
These cuts plans fly in the face of the response from the thousands of passengers who objected to the closure of ticket offices and the de-staffing of stations as Govia drives on with plans for a “faceless railway” where the public are left to fend for themselves on rammed-out, dangerous and unreliable services.
It is about time Govia Thameslink started acting responsibly, halted their cuts plans and got round the table with the union in serious and genuine talks.
Neither Govia or Southern had issued a statement at the time of writing.
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