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Southern services disrupted by guards strike

PUBLISHED: 11:13 23 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:13 23 January 2017

Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

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Southern says it will run 70 per cent of its trains

Southern Railway services have been disrupted once again by a guards strike, as talks continue to try to resolve a separate dispute over driver-only trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union walked out for 24 hours today (Monday, January 23) in a row over the role of conductors, causing fresh misery for thousands of passengers.

Southern said it will run over 70 per cent of its trains - ten per cent more of its normal timetable than it has been able to operate on previous conductor strike days.

The company said this follows the completion of its programme to put drivers in sole control of the operation of the train, including closing the doors, on nearly 80 per cent of routes, and the transfer of many conductors to the new on-board supervisor role.

Angie Doll, Southern’s passenger services director, said: “Whilst, inevitably, there will be disruption on Monday, the good news is that due to the changes we’ve now fully rolled out, we’re now able to run more services on more routes serving more passengers and ultimately we’ll have fewer cancellations and delays.

“On Monday, some 200 extra trains will be running and several routes will have their first service on an RMT strike day.

“The RMT should now recognise that their industrial action is wholly futile. They should stop the strikes, get back round the table with us and move forward together with us, delivering a better railway for our passengers.”

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “Instead of repeating the same old threats and empty rhetoric, Southern should be engaging RMT in the same way that they have engaged with the TUC and the government in the drivers’ dispute.

“That is the way forward and the only way that we can deal with the safety issues that have led to the latest phase of strike action on Monday.”

The RMT has been in dispute with Southern for several months, warning of safety issues because of the changes.

The union complained of being “excluded” from talks between Southern and Aslef over the drivers’ dispute.

The RMT has a small number of driver members at Southern who will strike on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Talks between Southern and Aslef will resume on Monday.

Southern said it plans to operate a normal full timetable from Tuesday.

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