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Rail ticket office staff to be balloted for strike action

Rail passengers who use Southern and Thameslink services are facing more misery after the rail Union RMT decided to ballot hundreds of ticket office staff for strike action.

Southern says changes would improve services for customers Credit: PA

The union says GTR, which owns the companies, wants to close ticket offices and cut 130 jobs.

The new action is on top of the chaos being caused by an on-going dispute over the roll of guards.

Under the plan new roles of Station Hosts will be created that will see staff removed from ticket offices and sent onto platforms to assist passengers and sell tickets.

The impact of their proposals cannot be underestimated. GTR want to close ticket offices, or cut them to morning peak only, at 83 stations from as far afield as Kings Lynn and Bognor Regis. As a means of doing this they plan to introduce a new multi-functional role of Station Host which we estimate will result in a cut of at least 130 jobs.

– RMT Union

GTR insists it is the best use of staff time and will improve services for passengers.

Passengers locked out as rail chaos deepens

Rail unions say we're on the edge of a disaster. MPs say there could be serious injuries - or worse. The Mayor of London says Southern should be stripped of its franchise.

And the tens of thousands of commuters caught up in the chaos of delays in Sussex - and the closure of Brighton station last night - say the situation has become intolerable.

It's been a long dispute between Southern Rail and the unions. And, the delays and overcrowding are getting worse.

Malcolm Shaw heard from passenger Pam Roach, and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

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  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, July 2016

Out with the old, and in the with the new. Goodbye to the EU, and hello to the vicar's daughter from Sussex - the Maidenhead MP, Theresa May. So much has happened on the political scene in the last three weeks. Whoever thought in June, that it would be May in July ?

On this month's Last Word, Helen Whately MP, the Faversham & Mid Kent Conservative; Anneliese Dodds MEP, the Labour euro-MP for South East England; and Tim Loughton MP, who represents the Conservatives in Worthing East & Shoreham debate what a Theresa May Government will look like. And they look at the future of the Labour Party as challengers emerge to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

MP holds public meeting about Southern trains row

A Southern train in the tracks

The MP for Horsham, Jeremy Quin, has been holding a public meeting this morning about rail services in his constituency.

The Conservative politician raised the issue in the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Question Time on 29th June. His constituency is served by Southern trains, the firm at the centre of a row with the RMT union over planned changes to the role of guards. There have been a number of strikes by workers, and on Monday the rail operator is due to introduce an emergency timetable which includes cancelling 341 trains a day.

Ahead of today's meeting, the MP said:

For non-train users I cannot adequately convey the sheer frustration of those that are (and pay so much for the privilege). Southern’s new Emergency Timetable may be a reflection of reality but announcing the cancellation of hundreds of services – services which were advertised when commuters bought their season tickets - will not win “hearts and minds”, nor will the inevitable over-crowding.

– Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham

Southern passengers to hold protest

Passengers will hold a protest on Monday afternoon Credit: ITV Meridian

Southern passengers are to hold a new protest about the current state of services. It will be held at Victoria on Monday evening as the company introduce 341 cuts to services.

Passengers say it is simply not good enough to cut trains which will lead to more crowding.

The company say it will better inform passengers about what services are more likely to run.

The dispute centres on the role of the guard.

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Southern rail strikes: Will the Government step in?

The ongoing dispute between the rail operator Southern and its guards over changes to their role has led to another 24-hour strike this week.

Our political correspondent Phil Hornby, who experienced some of the disruption himself this week, interviewed the Rail Minister Claire Perry and asked her if the Government will step in to resolve the dispute between Southern and the unions - or strip the operator, Govia Thameslink Trains, of its franchise.

Southern rail guards in 24 hr strike over role changes - 900 trains cancelled - 300,000 passengers affected

Southern guards on picket line

Thousands of commuters in the South have once again had to bare the brunt of a bitter dispute on the railways, as a fourth 24-hour strike by train conductors cripples services.

Southern Rail runs two thousand 200 trains a day across Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey. Today 900 trains were cancelled because of the strike affecting the journeys of 300,000 passengers.

There are calls for the Government tonight to step-in and take action. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports.

The interviewees are: Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary; and Dyan Crowther, GTR Chief Operating Officer.

Southern Rail guards' strike continues - passenger journeys disrupted

Rail guards' picket line in Brighton as row continues

There are calls for the Government to intervene in the ongoing row between the rail operator Southern and its staff.

The calls for action comes as guards have walked out again in a dispute over driver-only operated trains. Thousands of passengers have had their journeys disrupted with services being cancelled or reduced. But the Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP, has said she does not think it is the Government's job to step in. She has called for an end to the dispute.

The Campaign for Better Transport wrote to the Minister for Rail, Claire Perry MP, and urged her to take action over what the organisation called 'the failing Southern Rail franchise'.

“The ongoing problems with Govia Thameslink need to be urgently addressed. Passengers have now endured many months of cancellations and delays, so it is an outrage that the Government recently amended their franchise agreement to allow even more cancellations.

“The Department for Transport must take urgent action to restore public confidence in the franchise, to ensure passengers receive greatly improved services and appropriate compensation, to enforce franchise commitments, and to agree mechanisms so performance levels do not fall to such levels again. When train operators let down passengers, it is only right that they face penalties.”

– Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport
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