England

Five-day Southern rail strike to go ahead after talks break down

Southern train Image copyright Press Association
Image caption Southern expects to run nearly 60% of its normal timetable during the five-day strike

A five-day strike by conductors on Southern trains is to go ahead on Monday.

Operator Govia Thameslink (GTR) said it would "bring misery to hundreds of thousands of passengers".

The RMT union said negotiations broke down after the company rejected an offer to suspend the action.

The union wanted GTR to match terms offered in a similar dispute with ScotRail, but GTR claimed that was "a complete red herring".

GTR said it suggested an eight-point compromise over its plans to turn conductors into "On-Board Supervisors".

Negotiations 'a farce'

Passenger service director Angie Doll said the strike was "unnecessary, unacceptable and unjustified" and would cause "untold damage to the local economy in the South East".

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: "It is deeply disappointing that union bosses continue to overlook the impact they are having on hardworking people who want to get on with their journeys."

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the negotiations were "a farce" and claimed the government had told GTR "to stonewall, reject and wreck the talks process".

The long-running dispute centres on GTR's plan for Southern drivers, rather than guards, to open and close carriage doors.

GTR said it wanted "the flexibility to be able to run a train without a second member of staff on board" but insisted there would be no compulsory redundancies.

The union claims two staff members are safer than one and it fears job losses.


Strike details

The strike is due to run from 00:01 BST on Monday 8 August to 23:59 BST on Friday 12 August.

Southern has announced an emergency timetable with about 40% of services cancelled.

It issued a map showing some routes, including the Brighton main line, with a reduced service of "very busy" trains.

Others would have a "significantly reduced service at limited times", while six lines would have no rail service:

Havant - Chichester

Horsham - Dorking

Redhill - Tonbridge

Haywards Heath - Seaford

Oxted - Uckfield

Eastbourne - Ashford International


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