Train drivers prepare for strike action after ‘intimidating’ letter from bosses

Posted On 25 Apr 2016 at 1:46 pm

Train drivers have hit back at what they have branded an attempt to intimidate them as they prepare to carry out the first of three 24-hour walkouts tomorrow.

Southern trains stock shot
The RMT union has called three separate strikes starting from 11am tomorrow, 11 am on Tuesday, 10 May and 11am on Thursday, 12 May.

letter signed by Govia Thameslink Railway’s chief executive officer Charles Horton has warned them they will be docked two days’ pay for each walkout as they straddle two working shifts.

Meanwhile, the RMT has published a letter to passengers saying the plans to reduce the number of conductors on the trains is part of a new policy to shift the conductor role to lone ticket inspectors with an emphasis on fining “honest” customers who board trains without tickets because of long queues at ticket offices and machines.


The letter from Mr Horton says: “Please understand that taking strike action is pointless. GTR will not change its plans or proposals because of this. The RMT’s demands cannot be met and the only people who will suffer are our Southern passengers (who will be disrupted) and colleagues who take strike action (who will lose pay and benefits).

“So taking strike action will achieve nothing, but it will cost you and your family substantial sums should you strike. A sum of £268 will be withheld (this is two day’s average base salary) for each shift you participate in strike action.”

The letter went on to say that striking meant the company could, if it wished to, withhold a whole week’s pay.

A spokesman for GTR said: “This strike will be massively damaging for both our passengers and for our business. Taking part in the strike comes with consequences and we are simply setting out what those consequences will be.

“We hope that those who are thinking of taking part in the strike will think again and report for work, saving our passengers the misery of strike action.”

The RMT’s open letter said: “Under the terms of their franchise/management contract GTR is in line for a large bonus if they meet their targets for reducing ticketless travel and on the face of it a reduction in ticketless travel is a move which the majority of the travelling public would view positively.

“However, the way GTR intend to achieve their goal will be appreciated much less by the travelling public. It will NOT be those that travel on the network without any intention of paying that will be targeted. They are left alone as it is not viewed as cost effective to target them.

“It will be the HONEST passengers who will be targeted to achieve this ticketless travel goal and ensure GTR get their bonus.

“It will be the passengers that conductors at present provide with customer service that will be penalised under this initiative. The passengers who we as conductors take delight in helping, the customers who due to their busy lives have to board a service without a ticket, the customers who find themselves stuck in a queue at the ticket office or the customer young and old alike who have problems with the ticket vending machines.

“All of whom require us to sell them a ticket and always fully intend to pay for their tickets. These customers are not fare dodgers, they are not part of the don’t pay won’t pay grouping. They are customers who deserve to be looked after and sold the cheapest most appropriate ticket for their journey, something conductors do for them on a daily basis.”


  1. heather yeoman Reply

    i am disabled and partially sighted i will be one of the people affected i wont be able to use the trains i have a brain tummour and i need the suport that the gaurds provide this obsestion with ticatless travel is wrong when it bars the disabled from travel in my case i wont be able to visit my mum thank you southern thank you mr cameron . one cant run the country the other cant run the railway and why the hell are they gettting bonuses out out out out out out out im suporting the gaurds and drivers

  2. Mrs J Davis Reply

    What Govia do not realise is that the Passengers know what is going on and that Govia are witholding staff from doing there duties, we have seen Staff waiting on platforms awaiting trains to take them to there destination for work only for the train not to arrive DISGUSTING GOVIA ARE NOTHING BUT LIARS LIARS LIARS, they do not pay the staff even if they arrive work so what have they got to lose unpaid if you attend unpaid if you do not, you have taken on a Franchise that you cannot handle but have your grubbly little hands in the pot NOW GO AWAY and let proper people run Southern Trains. THREE TRAINS cancelled in a row all going Portsmouth and Southampton way, Brighton are getting some trains we are not.

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