I am appalled at the lack of clear communication from all the parties in the Southern Rail dispute.
We all know there will be an agreement eventually – how much longer will the Government sit back and say it’s nothing to do with them? The Unions appear to have a good case but I haven´t heard anyone from the Union leadership explain this succinctly on the TV news or written media.
As I see it, the Southern Rail franchise is unique due to the quantity of traffic, the size of the trains and the sheer number of passengers / commuters. It is inconceivable that a driver would be able to accurately monitor the door cameras in eight, 10, and 12 carriage trains, which comprise 16, 20 and 24 grainy black and white video images respectively. This responsibility should stay with guards.
Perhaps in the negotiations the unions could concede a trial of different responsibilities in some of the shorter trains that don´t go to London (eg, Gatwick/ Guildford; Brighton/ Ashford, etc).
Meanwhile the Government ministers are being dishonest in saying it’s not their dispute. The special nature of the Southern franchise is recognised in the contract whereby the Government benefits from the fare receipts. Therefore every missing passenger, or compensation for cancelled services, directly hits the income to the Treasury.
Meanwhile the train company are laughing. They save money when staff strike and don’t have to suffer the financial consequences as the Government is picking up the bill.
So come on, pull your respective fingers out and sort this out before more businesses go bust, more individuals lose their jobs because they can’t get to work or more marriages fail.