The RMT rail union has announced a fresh strike date in its long-running dispute with the Brighton main line train operator Southern.
The guards’ union will walk out next Wednesday (22 February) for 24 hours – from midnight to midnight – after talks at the conciliation service ACAS broke down yesterday (Tuesday 14 February).
Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Southern’s parent company, said: “We are disappointed that the RMT is going to heap yet further misery and disruption on the travelling public. We aim to run as full a service as we can.”
The company said that during the previous strike by conductors on Monday 23 January the company had run about three-quarters of its normal service.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The abject failure by Southern Rail in yesterday’s talks to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action.
“These disputes could have been settled if Southern/GTR had listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.
“Instead they have shifted the goal posts even further and have now created a strike breakers’ charter where one of the numerous new conditions where trains can run driver-only is during industrial action.
“That is simply scandalous and a measure of the betrayal of our members as a result of the TUC-brokered deal with Southern in the drivers’ dispute.
“The full detail of Southern’s plan is far worse than anyone could have anticipated. This is dire news, not just for staff, but for passengers who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service.
“RMT will not walk away from the fight for a railway that puts public safety before private profit.
“It is now down to Southern/GTR to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”
The drivers’ union ASLEF is expected to announce tomorrow (Thursday 16 February) whether its members support a deal agreed with Southern earlier this month.
The RMT has also called out some London Underground staff on strike from 9pm next Tuesday (21 February) for a 15-hour walkout.