Thousands of commuters are set to face further disruptions as Southern rail services call a five-day strike to start on Monday morning. There will be no trains from midnight on Sunday until 1am on Friday.
The strike was announced on Friday after the failure of three days of negotiations between the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and the train company over the role of conductors.
Angie Doll, passenger service director at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), said: “We have gone the extra mile with our compromise offer but the RMT has made it clear they are not prepared to negotiate.
“They did not want to discuss the role of the on-board supervisor and remain rigidly opposed to evolving the role of on-board staff to focus more on customers.
“We are deeply disappointed and angry on behalf of our passengers at this stance, which will cause misery for our passengers and untold damage to the local economy in the South East. The RMT’s strike is unnecessary, unacceptable and unjustified.
“We plan to have just as many services staffed with on-board supervisors as we do with conductors today. We simply want the flexibility to be able to run a train without a second member of staff on board, if they are unavailable, so we can get our passengers on their way.”
On the other hand, RMT general secretary Mick Cash described the negotiations as a “farce” adding: “It was clear right from the start of these talks that there was no serious intent from Govia Thameslink to engage in genuine negotiations, and that their script was being written from behind the scenes by their Government paymasters.
Cash added that the talks were also “sabotaged” by the Government which is why the negotiations have collapsed.
“Our action in defence of rail safety and the safety critical role of the guard now goes ahead next week and passengers caught in the middle of this wrecked process will be rightly furious that talks that could have resolved this issue were sabotaged.”
This comes days after a hole was found under tracks at Forest Hill station causing delays to services going into London.
Next week’s strike is to start from 00.01am on Monday August 8 to 12.59pm on Friday August 12.
Here is a list of the affected routes
- Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes Central
- Dorking and Horsham
- Oxted and Uckfield
- Haywards Heath and Lewes
- Preston Park and Hove
- Lewes and Seaford (Replacement buses will run on this route)
- Eastbourne and Ashford International via Hastings
- Chichester and Portsmouth Harbour / Southampton Central
- Redhill and Tonbridge / Reigate
- Guildford and Leatherhead
- Sutton and Streatham via Wimbledon
- Crystal Palace and Beckenham Junction
- West Norwood and Tulse Hill
For more information and a map of the affected stations click here.