Angry commuters faced long delays at East Croydon station this morning due to the first day of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) strike and over-running engineering works combined.
The three-day national union RMT strike started at midnight, due to Southern Rail and the RMT union disagreeing over the importance of train guards and conductors, therefore refusing to accept an offer.
Waiting passengers at East Croydon suffered even more disruption because of a National Rail “heavy engineering machine”, which had broken down on the Brighton line overnight meaning the railway only reopened to trains at 7.20am and a queuing system had to be put into place.
A Southern spokesman told East London Lines the strikes had “a huge impact on the train service and the number of trains arriving at East Croydon.
“Going ahead with these strikes just days after telling conductors to accept our offer sets new standards in union militancy. They don’t care that hundreds of thousands of commuters will face yet more travel misery this week; it’s clear this is all about the union trying to hang on to power and control.
“We urge them to call off what is a pointless and unnecessary dispute, as it always has been.”
The strike caused one in three train cancellations on busy routes in the London area causing the platforms to be incredibly overcrowded.
Many unhappy customers took to social media to vent their concerns and rage about how dangerous and chaotic it was.
— Sarah Jones (@LabourSJ) October 11, 2016
This doesn't even begin to do justice to the bedlam of East Croydon station this morning. Swearing and punches being thrown. Delightful. pic.twitter.com/OgjTvJUu8h
— Ellie O (@ellie_o_d) October 11, 2016
— Dan (@TheMadDan) October 11, 2016
— James Johnston (@JamesJohnston_1) October 11, 2016
— RMT (@RMTunion) October 11, 2016
The RMT press office said: “Once again this morning Southern have been peddling the lie that this dispute is about who opens and closes the doors when, in fact, it’s about the retention of a guaranteed, second safety-critical member of staff, with the full range of safety competencies, on all current services.
The RMT have publicised that they are aware of the implications this strike has for commuters, but it is all in the “interest of their safety”, also emphasising their #keeptheguardonthetrain.
This is the first of many RMT strikes before Christmas including 11-13 October, 18-20 October, 3-5 November, 22-23 November, 6-8 December.