Second Southern rail strike of week underway

A Southern Rail train

A second rail strike affecting Southern train services this week began this morning (Thursday October 5).

The RMT union has been fighting the further extension of driver-only operation on the Southern network by Govia Thameslink Railway since April 2016.

The changes make drivers responsible for opening and closing train doors, with the RMT raising safety and access concerns.

The union has held a walkout on Tuesday (October 3).

Although Southern plans to run a normal service on most routes, some Coastway trains and peak hour services between Hastings and Ashford International will not run.

Last week Angie Doll, Southern’s passenger services director, said: “We are aiming for business as usual on most of our routes during the RMT strikes next week.

“The RMT is striking about changes we made almost a year ago as part of our modernisation programme. Nobody has lost their job over this, in fact we employ more on-board staff to help passengers than we did before, and we are providing a better service with fewer cancelled trains.

“We are operating on the busiest part of the network so it’s essential that we use modern technology to keep trains running for the benefit of our passengers – not cancel them as the RMT insists.

“We’ve spent 18 months negotiating with the RMT and met for 25 days. We’ve made four good offers to resolve this dispute yet the RMT has rejected them all without even putting them to their members for a vote.”

On the eve of the strikes, Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: ”RMT will not stand back while the guards, front-line staff when it ‎comes to safety, security and access, are thrown off Britain’s trains for political and financial reasons.”

Full details of service changes can be found on Southern’s website.

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