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Interview with Southern Rail on day one of strike

As a three-day strike by train guards on Southern Rail continues, ITV Meridian presenter Sangeeta Bhabra spoke to Alex Foulds, Deputy Chief Operating Officer Govia Thameslink. She began by asking him when the dispute was going to be resolved.

Southern strike day one: Some commuters may have just 'given up' on attempting to travel by train

Rail users turn up to see if they can catch trains on day one of the strike

The Southern rail dispute has caused almost seven months of misery for commuters who use the line - and today saw the start of the latest three-day walkout by guards in an ongoing row over the proposed introduction of driver-only trains on the network. The train conductors' strike will last until the evening of Thursday 8th December.

The train operator, Southern, has warned its customers to expect continued disruption with more strikes to follow, including industrial action next week from train drivers who are due to stage their own walkout next week.

Buses replaced trains from Ashford International and Hastings - to Eastbourne today.

There was a reduced service from Eastbourne and Lewes into Brighton, up to Gatwick and into London Bridge and Victoria.

Trains from Tonbridge to Redhill were also reduced. And after seeing trains reinstated at the end of September, replacement buses have returned to and from the coastal town of Seaford in Sussex.

From the look of some of the region's railway stations, it seems as though many commuters may have just given up on trying to use the trains at all - instead finding other ways to get around. Malcolm Shaw reports.

Strike dates:

  • Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 December (RMT conductors' strike)
  • Tuesday 13 & Weds 14 December (ASLEF & RMT drivers' strike)
  • Friday 16 December (ASLEF and RMT drivers' strike)
  • Monday 19 to Tuesday 20 December (RMT conductors' strike)
  • Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 Jan (RMT conductors' strike)
  • Monday 9 to Saturday 14 Jan (ASLEF and RMT drivers' strike)


Southern strike: From the picket line in Brighton

RMT picket line at Brighton station

A few RMT union members were gathered at Brighton railway station on the picket line to mark the start of their three day strike over proposed changes to the role of guards on Southern trains.

Garry Hassell, from the RMT, said he knew the disruption was difficult for commuters, but the strikers were hoping to achieve a long term goal..

RMT General secretary calls for direct talks with ministers to end chaos

RMT union are demanding direct talks with the Government Credit: ITV

Three days of strike by the RMT union began today as part of an ongoing row over planned changes to the role of the conductor.

RMT General secretary released a statement calling on the government to meet with union members to end the disruption.

Our guards members on Southern Rail remain rock solid and absolutely determined in their action in defence of rail safety this morning.

– General Secretary Mick Cash

Passengers are being advised to check their journey before travelling.

Three day rail strike set to cause travel chaos

Southern train customers will be affected

Southern Rail passengers have been warned to expect "severe and significant" disruption on the train network ahead of a three-day strike by conductors in an ongoing row over changes to their role.

The three-day walkout by members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) will disrupt transport services on Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th December 2016.

The Railways Minister, Paul Maynard, was in Sevenoaks in Kent today to launch a new smart card which marks the rail operator Southeastern's first move towards "ticketless commuting", similar to the Oyster card system in the capital. Our Political Correspondent Phil Hornby took the opportunity to also ask him what he was doing to put a stop to the industrial disputes which have been causing misery for the region's commuters.

Advice from Southern Rail on travelling around the network during the RMT union strike between Tuesday 6th December and Thursday 8th December 2016.


RMT Union responds to last night's rail problems on Southern routes

The head of the RMT union has given his reaction to the problems on Southern Rail and Gatwick Express last night.

"It's all very well Southern trying to blame Network Rail for the chaos that hit services last night but the fact remains that if the company wasn't hoarding £100 million in profits that cash could be invested in renewals and maintenance, easing the intolerable pressure on our rail infrastructure.

"It is also a fact that it was our members, on the trains and stations, who were left to deal with the anger of passengers and the lethal overcrowding not Charles Horton and his team of top bosses who are insulated from life in the real world. If anyone wanted an explanation as to why the workforce are so angry at Southern's repeated attacks on them, and their safety-critical role, just take a close look at last night's events.

"Passengers will be rightly demanding to know whatever happened to Chris Grayling's £20 million Southern Rail Task Force stunt. It is time for the Transport Secretary to get out of his bunker, stop patronising staff and the public and get round the table with the unions and the company to sort the deep-seated problems wrecking services and safety on Southern and he should start with the on-going guards and drivers disputes.‎"

– Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

Rail firm apologises for disruption last night - passengers eligible for compensation

Southern Rail passengers are being encouraged to apply for compensation after the line between Brighton and Haywards Heath was shut last night. It was due to emergency track repairs at Wivelsfield. The problem led to an evening of delays and cancellations. The line has been reopened.

ASLEF to ballot Southern Rail train drivers over strike

ASLEF, the trade union for train drivers, is to ballot its members who work on Southern Railways for industrial action after last-ditch talks to resolve a dispute failed.

The news comes as members of the RMT union began their latest three-day strike over proposed changes to the role of conductors on trains.

Yesterday, Southern Rail said a £2,000 lump sum is back on the table if the RMT union put the firm's latest offer to a referendum.

"We have genuinely sought to reach a compromise with Southern.

"We have always been prepared to talk to the company, and we have always been of the view that it is, or should be, possible to do a deal – as we did with ScotRail – but it takes two to tango and the company has not been prepared to negotiate. They want to impose, not to discuss. They have dug in their heels and forced us to ballot our members.

"Our trade dispute with the company is that there should be no introduction and/or extension of new driver-only operated routes on Southern without the agreement of ASLEF."

– Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF
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