Southern rail strikes by drivers and conductors cause fresh travel disruption for long-suffering commuters

 
Rebecca Smith
Southern services are being disrupted by both drivers and conductors
Southern services are being disrupted by both drivers and conductors (Source: Getty)

London Underground passengers might have got some respite after today's Tube strikes were called off yesterday, but there was no such joy for Southern rail commuters.

They're facing yet more delays today as the latest three-day strike got under way: with the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union walking out at midnight over the ongoing dispute over the role of guards on trains, and drivers' union Aslef kicking off an overtime ban.

Southern has warned of "severe and significant" disruption as a result of the combined action. It's aiming to have about 50 per cent of the full timetable operating on RMT strike days; but if Aslef strikes go ahead, no services will run.

Read more: Southern Rail and Tube strikes: Everything you need to know

"Regrettably we expect Southern services to be severely disrupted on every day from Tuesday 6 December until further notice," Southern said.

Its parent company Govia Thameslink Railway announced last week it was taking legal action to try and stop Aslef's walkouts.

RMT's general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our guard members on Southern rail remain rock solid and absolutely determined in their action in defence of rail safety this morning. The union repeats its demands for Chris Grayling and his rail minister to get out of their bunker, stop the mud slinging and take up the offer from Rmt for direct talks to sort out the worsening crisis on Britain's biggest rail franchise."

Read more: Grayling to reveal plans to axe Network Rail's monopoly later today

The union will protest outside the Policy Exchange event where Chris Grayling is speaking later today and will discuss his plans to break up Network Rail's dominance over rail maintenance.

A 24-hour strike was due to take place on two Underground lines, but was suspended yesterday.

It comes as rail minister Paul Maynard reaffirmed the government will not intervene in the ongoing industrial dispute between Southern rail and the RMT union, saying passengers wouldn't thank the government for "costly intervention".

Southern rail strike dates:

  • 00:01 Tuesday 6 December to 23:59 Thursday 8 December (RMT)
  • 00:01 Tuesday 13 December to 23:59 Wednesday 14 December (Aslef)
  • 00:01 Friday 16 December to 23:59 Friday 16 December (Aslef)
  • 00:01 Monday 19 December to 23:59 Tuesday 20 December (RMT)
  • 00:01 Monday 9 January to 23:59 Saturday 14 January (Aslef)

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