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Southern railway pre-Christmas strike dates changed


Southern railway pre-Christmas strike dates changed

  • 1 December 2016
  • From the BBC

The RMT union has called off a Southern rail strike just before Christmas, instead announcing a 48-hour stoppage from 19 December.

The decision to cancel the three day strike from 22 December follows a consultation with its members.

The union said walkouts from 6-8 December and 31 December to 2 January remained in force.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said the decision was due to "daily feedback from passengers".

"Our guards on Southern are in daily contact with passengers and the support for our fight to defend safety remains phenomenal," he said.

"It is from that daily feedback from passengers that the union has taken the decision to alter the dates for action over Christmas."

An increasingly bitter dispute over plans to change the role of conductors on trains has caused months of disruption for passengers.

The RMT union is concerned about job losses and public safety, but Southern has said its plans are safe, no jobs are at risk and there will be fewer cancelled trains.

'Maximum disruption'

A Southern spokesman said: "We welcome the decision by the RMT to cancel these dates immediately before Christmas but by announcing new dates in the same week they will still be disrupting passengers' travel plans at this busy time.

"The new strikes on 19 and 20 December are clearly co-ordinated to follow the Aslef strikes and cause maximum disruption.

"If the unions are listening to passengers then they will call off all industrial action."

In a separate dispute, members of the train drivers' union, Aslef, have voted overwhelmingly to strike in a row over driver-only operated trains.

The union is accusing Southern railway of wanting to impose changes rather than reach an agreement.

Aslef is starting a work-to-rule next week and has announced its drivers will strike on 13-14 December, again on 16 December, and between 9-14 January.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has said details of a compensation package for Southern passengers will be announced later this week,

In a letter to Brighton MP Simon Kirby, he said the industrial action on Southern was politically motivated and Aslef had accepted driver-only operated trains on the Brighton mainline.

He wrote: "We cannot allow the unions to dictate how or whether the railways should be modernised or not.

"They are seeking the right to determine when a train should be cancelled to inconvenience passengers, even in circumstances when this doesn't need to be the case."

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 Saturday 31 December to 23:59 Monday 2 January (RMT)

00:01 Monday 9 January to 23:59: Saturday 14 January (Aslef)

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