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Southern workers plan five-day strike action as dispute with GTR goes on

PUBLISHED: 17:19 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 17:19 28 July 2016

A watchdog has called for a review of the Southern franchise

A watchdog has called for a review of the Southern franchise

Archant

Strike action is expected to last from August 8 to 12

The latest wave of strike action in the ongoing dispute over rail worker roles at Southern has been announced.

The rail firm, owned by Govia Thameslink Railway, is reportedly changing the role of train drivers.

General secretary at RMT, the rail workers’ union, Mick Cash, said: ““This action has been forced on us by the arrogance and inaction of Govia Thameslink and the Government who have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute or in tackling the daily chaos on Southern.

“Our fight is with the company and the government who have dragged this franchise into total meltdown. We share the anger and frustration of passengers and we cannot sit back while jobs and safety are compromised on these dangerously overcrowded trains.

“It is disgraceful that neither the company or the Government are prepared to engage and are looking to bully through the extension of DOO and the attack on the guards set for 21st August. They should wake up and get round the table now as an urgent priority.”

GTR chief operating officer Dyan Crowther said: “It is unacceptable that passengers are being made to suffer five days of disruption all because the RMT is refusing to work with us and modernise the railway for the benefit of our customers. We have guaranteed all our onboard staff a job until the end of the franchise, as valued members of our future operation, with no reduction in salary.

“We value the work of our staff, who are trying their best to deliver service levels that passengers expect. The sooner we can introduce the essential modernisation that our railways desperately need, the sooner we will address the current capacity and performance issues and deliver a better service for our passengers.

“Contrary to the RMT’s accusation, we have always been open to talks and remain so. Only this week we spoke with the General Secretary Mick Cash about further talks and he has been unwilling to enter into discussion.”

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