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RMT strike continues on Southern - union calls for 'genuine and meaningful talks'

Strike over proposed changes to the role of conductors continues

There has been more disruption for passengers who travel on Southern railway services in the region. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) have been continuing a 48-hour strike in the ongoing row over the role of train conductors.

Train drivers who are members of the ASLEF union are also carrying out a ban on overtime.

Southern's management have apologised for the continued disruption to their passengers journeys.

Meanwhile the General Secretary of the RMT, Mick Cash, has responded with anger to the news that the Prime Minister plans to hire more replacement buses to ease the problems the Southern railways strikes are causing for rail users.

‎"Instead of resorting to lash-up stunts for public relations purposes Theresa May should be instructing her Southern rail contractors to get back round the table and sort out the issues about passenger safety at the heart of this dispute."

‎"The collapse in industrial relations on Southern can all be traced back to the comments of top Government rail official Peter Wilkinson back in February when he made it clear at a meeting in Croydon that he was actively seeking a war with staff and their unions.

"If she's serious about getting a grip Mrs May needs to scrap that agenda of confrontation and give us an opportunity to engage in genuine and meaningful talks."

– Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

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)

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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..

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.

Tuesday's London tube strike called off - Southern trains 3-day walkout to go ahead

The RMT union has suspended a 24-hour strike which was due to take place on the London underground tomorrow - Tuesday 6th December 2016.

The industrial action on the Piccadilly, and Hammersmith & City lines concerned separate disputes which the union says have been the subject of successful talks with London Underground at the conciliation service ACAS.

The union said that the Piccadilly line dispute has been resolved, and talks will continue on the other matter.

However, commuters and other rail users in the south east of England will continue to be affected by a three-day strike by Southern Rail conductors in a long running dispute over proposed changes to the role of guards.

The London Underground strike has been suspended

"Talks with London Underground have proved to be positive and focussed and as a result we have been able to make enough significant progress to allow us to suspend the strike action in both disputes that was scheduled for tomorrow evening.

“There is no question that the advances we have made have been down to the strength and resilience of our members in the workplace backed up by a determined and professional negotiating team. The solidarity that led to the resounding ballots for action has been absolutely decisive.

“The union thanks its members and its officers for the exceptional display of unity which has enabled us to make serious progress in resolving the issues at the heart of these disputes.”

– Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT Union
  1. Philip Hornby

The Last Word, December 2016

This week, we look at the troubled Southern Railway: as Aslef pile on the pressure and join the RMT, it's the passengers who face even more strikes, more uncertainty.

And uncertainty, too, over Brexit: six months after the vote to quit the EU, the timetable and the detail are still unknown.

We look back over 2016, a year unlike any other, with that referendum, the election of Donald Trump, and leadership elections for Labour, the Tories, and UKIP. In fact, they enjoyed theirs so much, they did it twice.

Lively political debate for our final show of the year with:-

  • Tim Aker MEP - UKIP
  • Royston Smith MP - Conservative, Southampton Itchen
  • Baroness Smith of Basildon, from Sussex
  • Stephen Lloyd, until last year, Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne
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