Two RMT strikes hit Southern rail network on same day

An employee walks past a train during a strike Image copyright EPA
Image caption The new action over ticket office closures coincides with a strike already planned

A strike over ticket office closures will take place on Southern rail on the same day the network is hit by industrial action over guards' roles.

The 24-hour walkout will take place on 7 September across all Govia Thameslink (GTR) services including Southern.

It will coincide with a two-day strike on 7 and 8 September on Southern in a row about guards' roles on new trains.

The RMT union said it followed a 70% vote for strike action. GTR has not yet commented on the new strike.

But earlier, it called on the RMT to call off the 48-hour strike and get back round the table to find a solution.

Southern passenger services director, Alex Foulds, said: "We've had a summer of travel chaos for hundreds of thousands of people and they are now proposing yet more misery and disruption in the week when people go back to work and back to school."

GTR operates Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern services.

'Safety compromised'

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The Govia Thameslink franchise is in meltdown and not fit for purpose.

"Not content with axing catering services, closing ticket offices and attacking the role of their guards, they now want to threaten 130 station jobs and compromise the safety of both their passengers and staff alike."

He also called for further negotiations and said: "It is about time Govia Thameslink started acting responsibly, halted their cuts plans and got round the table with the union in serious and genuine talks."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Southern has already seen a series of strikes by the RMT

He said ticket office closures would result in "a massive increase in lone working, including late at night".

The union said GTR proposals to reorganise station staff and create a new role of station host would lead to the closure of, or reduced hours at, 83 ticket offices.

In the dispute over guards' roles, the RMT is fighting moves to turn conductors on Southern into "on-board supervisors", with drivers taking over responsibility for opening and closing carriage doors.

The union has said it has concerns over safety and job cuts, but the company imposed the changes on Sunday.

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