Future of Work

A war of words has continued to rage over a bitter rail dispute which is causing travel misery for tens of thousands of passengers. Services on Southern Railway have been crippled for weeks amid an industrial dispute over the role of conductors.

Govia Thameslink Railway has blamed an increase in sickness among guards as well as an unwillingness for drivers to work overtime.

Chief operating officer Dyan Crowther blamed the action of unions and said claims by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union that trains were being deliberately cancelled and blamed on staff shortages were “ludicrous”.

The union hit back, saying passengers were “sick and tired” of Govia ‘s excuses. Ms Crowther told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that plans to change the role of conductors on Southern trains so drivers were responsible for operating doors were “reasonable” and were already in place across the UK.

“We are asking them to do less work. We will retain people on trains, no-one will lose a job or pay.” She apologised for the disruption to services, especially into London Victoria, and accused the unions of “hard-line” action.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said; “Passengers and staff alike are sick and tired of the Southern top bosses and the Government trying to blame everyone other than themselves for the chaos that they have unleashed on Britain’s biggest rail franchise.

“There is no ‘unofficial action’ on Southern. The staff shortages are down to gross mismanagement of staffing numbers, rosters and diagrams by the company on this basket -case franchise and our information from members proves that services are routinely being axed even when staff are available. That is scandalous behaviour.”

The RMT has called a 24-hour strike on Southern on Tuesday.

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