Two-day Southern rail strike begins

A Southern Rail train

A two-day rail strike affecting Southern services has begun this morning (Wednesday November 8).

The RMT union has been fighting the further extension of driver-only operation on the Southern network by Govia Thameslink Railway since April 2016, and has called a number of walkouts.

It has instructed RMT members on a number of rail franchises across the country, including those working on Southern services, not to book any shifts today (Wednesday November 8) or tomorrow (Thursday November 9).

Both the RMT and GTR have organised a number of talks since the dispute started, but a deal has yet to be reached, with the union raising safety and access concerns with the extension of DOO.

Southern Rail will be running a normal service on most routes during the RMT’s strike.

Some peak hour services between Ashford International, Rye and Hastings will not run, while five services to and from Littlehampton, and one at Eastbourne will not operate.

Gatwick Express will operate its current service between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport / Brighton. Thameslink will run a full service between London Blackfriars / London Bridge and Brighton.

Angie Doll, passenger services director for Southern, said: “It’s business as usual on most of our routes during the RMT strikes.

“Nobody has lost their job over the changes that we made almost a year ago. We’ve made four good offers to resolve this dispute yet the RMT has rejected them all without even putting our proposals to their members for a vote.”

Full details of service changes can be found at www.southernrailway.com/dispute and passengers are advised to check before they travel for updates on the day.

Last month RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action.”

The West Sussex Rail Users Association has published travelling advice in its latest newsletter.

“Next Wednesday and Thursday Southern once again expect to run the full main line service except for the following services which will not run:-

07:12 Eastbourne to London Bridge

07:45 Littlehampton to Brighton

15:57 Littlehampton to Portsmouth & Southsea

16:59 Portsmouth & Southsea to Littlehampton

17:41 London Bridge to Littlehampton

21:53 Littlehampton to Brighton”

It will be holding its AGM on Saturday November 11 between 10am and noon in the studio of the Capitol Theatre, North Road, Horsham, where Ms Doll will be the guest speaker.

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