Widespread cancellations are expected across the Southern network during next week’s rail strike.
The RMT union and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have been locked in a dispute over the future role of conductors for months, with industrial action in April, May, and June.
Now the RMT is due to hold a five-day walkout starting on Monday (August 8), and Southern expects to be able to run two-thirds of its revised timetable if talks do not succeed.
No Southern trains would run between Ashford and Pevensey via Hastings, between Dorking and Horsham, or between Havant and Chichester.
No services would run to Uckfield and rail-replacement bus services would operate between Seaford and Lewes.
Angie Doll, passenger service director at GTR, said: “We are sorry that our passengers once again look set to suffer further disruption because of the RMT. The union must call this action off by Thursday afternoon if we are to avoid having to put in Monday’s strike timetable.
“This action is not necessary. Our new on-board supervisors will no longer close the doors, a task that passes to the driver with the aid of CCTV. This will cost no-one their jobs, and frees up staff on board trains to better serve passengers.
“As many services will have staff on board as they do today and our on-board staff will have an improved role which better meets the needs of passengers, securing their valued position on the railway for the long-term.
“And there will be fewer train cancellations in future: currently, conductors are tied to specific routes and services, but the new on-board supervisor will be able to go anywhere on our network, significantly reducing the perennial problem of train cancellations due to conductors not being available when they’re delayed by disruption, for example.”
But last week Mick Cash, general secretary at the RMT, said: “RMT officials have already cleared the diaries and are available for serious and genuine ACAS talks which is exactly what we have been calling for all along.
“On top of that we repeat our offer in good faith to suspend action if the company agree to suspend the planned changes to the safety critical role of the guard and the bulldozing through of the new contracts without agreement
“That would create the space for talks to take place outside of the pressure cooker. RMT will be at ACAS to discuss the full range of detailed issues at the core of this dispute”.
Other routes will have fewer trains next week, with services starting late and finishing early.
Passengers can find out details of how they may be affected so they can plan their journeys at www.southernrailway.com/rmtstrike
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