Southern trains 'cancelled trains despite crew available'

Southern Rail trains Image copyright PA
Image caption The dispute has been ongoing for more than a year

Southern rail has been accused by union bosses of cancelling trains despite crews being available.

The rail firm brought in the revised timetable on Thursday as Aslef began its latest overtime ban as part of the long-running dispute over staff roles.

Union officials said trains from Eastbourne to London were axed though train crews were available for them to run.

But, Southern said it had "no choice" but to reduce the number of trains.

One worker sent a message to a colleague that said: "Southern have cancelled all London trains and Brighton trains, yet the crews are in the mess room."

'Extra shuttle services'

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, which is also in dispute with the rail operator, said: "It is total chaos on Southern rail again this morning with the company misleading the public and mismanaging their staff resources.

"This is not the first time this has happened and it lays bare the complete and utter shambles on the Southern contract."

The RMT is due to stage a 24-hour strike on 10 July.

A Southern spokesman said: "The Aslef overtime ban means we have no choice but to reduce the number of trains planned, to give our passengers a robust timetable.

"Where additional crew is available, we are using them wherever possible to run extra shuttle services."

Southern, owned by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with the unions over driver-only operated trains.

On Thursday, the High Court ruled the government has two weeks to decide if Southern is in breach of its contract or face judicial review.

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