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Southern Rail passengers brace themselves as fresh wave of industrial action gets underway

PUBLISHED: 08:52 06 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:52 06 December 2016

Southern trains

Southern trains

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Strikes by the RMT union have been compounded by an overtime ban by drivers

Passengers on Southern Rail braced themselves for further disruption as an overtime ban by drivers and fresh industrial action over staffing got underway on Tuesday morning.

The latest three-day strike over the role of conductors on Souther Rail services by Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has been compounded by an overtime ban by drivers’ union Aslef ahead of industrial action in a row over driver-only trains.

On RMT strike days, only around 50 per cent of the full timetable will run, and the operator warned passengers to expect “severe and significant” disruption to Southern and Gatwick Express services every day from today.

Southern’s West London Line services, London Bridge to Beckenham Junction services, and Brighton to Seaford services are all cancelled from Tuesday until further notice.

Buses will operate between Lewes and Seaford. Other metro services will also be reduced.

The rail operator is taking legal action in the High Court on Wednesday to try to stop the Aslef strikes, but if the action goes ahead all services will be halted on December 13, 14 and 16.

Southern director Alex Foulds said: “Regrettably, because of this wholly unnecessary and unjustified industrial action, there will be severe and significant disruption on our network from Tuesday and customers are advised that stations will be incredibly busy.

“If passengers can make alternative travel arrangements they should, and if they don’t have to travel they shouldn’t. If the drivers’ strikes go ahead, there will be no services on Southern and customers should not attempt to travel.

“We’re doing everything we can to stop the drivers’ strike and that’s why we are seeking an injunction in the High Court.

“This industrial action is a clearly co-ordinated and cynical manoeuvre by the unions to bring yet further travel misery to passengers, as well as having a detrimental impact on the regional economy when it least needs it.

“If the unions are listening to passengers then they will call off all industrial action now and give hardworking commuters and their families their lives back.”

Thameslink is not directly affected by the strike action, although its services are expected to be extremely busy.

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