Voice of the Employee

The longest rail strike since 1968 has begun, with hundreds of trains cancelled on the Southern network across south east England. A five-day walkout by members of the RMT union started at midnight in a row over the role of conductors.

Parent rail firm Govia Thameslink (GTR) is in a bitter dispute with the RMT union over plans for drivers to operate the doors on new trains using CCTV. BBC Correspondent Ben Thompson said the five-day walkout is the longest industrial action on the railways since 1968.

The union has staged several one-day strikes since 26 April after a vote by 393 members. Last month, Southern brought in a reduced timetable in response to continued cancellations and delays, blaming issues with crew availability during a dispute with the RMT.

Passengers have described 70-minute commutes taking three or four hours, being “turfed off trains” and feeling “utterly powerless” in the ongoing saga.

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