Business

Southern rail strike: Your rights

Passengers wait for Southern train Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thousands of Southern rail passengers face a frustrating week

Hundreds of thousands of Southern rail passengers face even more disruption this week, with five days of industrial action.

It is thought to be the longest rail strike since the 1960s.

The cause of the strike is relatively straightforward: Southern wants all its drivers - rather than the conductors - to operate the carriage doors.

It believes that drivers can close the doors themselves by watching video cameras - as they already do in many cases.

However the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) believes there is a hidden agenda to cut jobs, which could endanger passengers' lives.

So what are your rights as a passenger if you are caught up in the chaos?

Will I qualify for compensation?

Southern says that 60% of its trains are operating as normal. You will only qualify for strike compensation if the service you need is on an affected route.

Southern has provided a map of which routes are affected. However, all passengers can still claim compensation if their train arrives at its destination more than 30 minutes late.

What if I am a season ticket holder?

If your route is affected, you can make a claim if you decide not to travel, or if you are delayed by more than 30 minutes. You will be paid in vouchers, which are exchangeable for cash. This can be done at your local station, or by filling in the online claim form.

Image copyright Getty Images

What if I have bought a ticket on the day?

Day ticket holders can get a full refund if they decide not to travel. Or, if they decide to go ahead with their journey, they can get compensation if their train is delayed by more than 30 minutes.

Anyone who has bought a one-day travelcard can have it re-issued for a different day for free.

Tickets issued for any day this week will also be valid on Saturday 13 August.

Can I use alternative train operators?

Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express will all accept each other's tickets during the week.

What if I have used my Oystercard, and taken a longer route?

Passengers who are forced to make a longer journey can call the Oystercard helpline on 0343 222 1234, to apply for a refund. Any compensation will be subject to the daily Oystercard cap.

Image copyright EPA

What rights do employees have if they cannot get to work?

Many companies have a stated policy on strike action. Some will expect workers to use other means to get to work. Others may require staff to work from home, or take a day's leave.

Some policies state that workers need to contact a line manager by a specific time of day.

Can employers dock pay?

If it is genuinely impossible for an employee to get to work, employers may find it difficult to dock pay. "If they suspect that an employee is taking a 'sickie', employers should avoid taking any knee-jerk action," says Aye Limbin-Glassey, employment law partner at Shakespeare Martineau.

"Making accusations of this type without evidence could lead to claims of unfair or even constructive dismissal, particularly if the employee has been at the business for more than two years. Withholding pay in such circumstances could also lead to claims for unlawful deduction from wages."

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