Southern poster wrongly suggests rail strike called off

A Southern poster wrongly suggesting next week's rail strike has been called off has been circulating on social media.

Friday, 5th August 2016, 12:24 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:54 am
Southern train SUS-150225-011710001

The RMT union is due to hold five straight days of industrial action starting on Monday (August 8) as part of its dispute with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) over changes to the role of conductors on many of its services.

A third of Southern trains will be cancelled against the revised timetable if the strike goes ahead.

But a poster circulating on Twitter this morning reads: “The strike action called by the RMT union on the above dates has now been suspended.

“Unfortunately, due to the short notice of this decision, we are not now able to reinstate the full timetable.”

Southern responded: “Currently the strike is scheduled to take place.”

Talks are continuing today between the RMT and GTR through mediator ACAS.

Wealden MP Nus Ghani said: “The strike is neither necessary nor justified, and the only thing it will achieve is to cause more misery for passengers.

“I hope both sides are engaging in discussions with a genuine ambition to ensure the dispute is resolved in the interests of passengers.

“MPs are in contact with the Transport Secretary and Rail Minister, and we will continue to be until the situation is resolved.”

Passengers using services run by GTR have faced months of misery due to staff shortages with both the rail operator and union blaming each other for the problems.

Meanwhile the Government has faced repeated calls to strip GTR of its franchise, something this newspaper has backed, along with its sister-titles across Sussex.

Other rail unions have faced the prospect of strike action this week.

Both the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) are balloting their members in August over the possibility of strike action relating to GTR’s plans to cut opening hours at railway station ticket offices across Sussex.

Meanwhile ASLEF, the union representing train drivers, has said that rostering issues brought about by the revised weekday timetable, which started in early July and cancelled more than 300 services a day, ‘remain unresolved’.

ASLEF’s executive committee considers this ‘amounts to a breakdown in industrial relations’ and it will ballot its members employed by GTR Southern and Gatwick Express on both strike action and action short of a strike.

GTR called the TSSA’s decision ‘pointless and ridiculous’, and ASLEF’s announcement a ‘cynical and desperate attempt to heap even more misery on passengers’.

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