Southern commuters endure longest-running industrial dispute
Southern Rail commuters have been hit with yet another strike this morning, as transport union RMT marks Britain's longest-running industrial dispute.
Londoners travelling between Clapham Junction and Watford Junction will be affected by a reduced service running at peak times only today, while those commuting between Guildford and central London will face "a very limited service", though a Southern spokesperson said the strike would have no impact on the vast majority of passengers.
The Brighton to Hove shuttle service is also on a limited operation throughout the day, and there are cancellations on a small number of routes, in the Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Brighton, West Worthing and Portsmouth areas.
Southern said it would be operating a full service elsewhere.
RMT told City A.M. today marked the 40th day of strike action since the start of the dispute, which has run for more than two years. Union leaders last week said they were forced to take further industrial action after there had been no serious efforts made to resolve the dispute.
This morning general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our members stand solid and united again today in the fight for passenger safety and access on Southern Rail in Britain's longest-running industrial dispute.
"The sheer grit and determination of our members on Southern to put public safety before private profit over the past two years of this dispute is a credit to the trade union movement and the communities they are standing up for."
"We are now receiving regular reports of trains running without a guard or OBS on board on Southern Rail and of disabled passengers being denied support and access and the routine safety of passengers being compromised.
"The scandal of Southern Rail cannot be allowed to continue and GTR should get out of their bunker and get back round the table with the union."
A Southern spokesperson said: “Only a week before its announcement of this strike, the RMT rejected proposals we made about the basis for finding a settlement, and we renew our call for the union to end this pointless dispute. The RMT should face the reality that the changes they are objecting to were successfully introduced a year ago.
"Safety is not an issue. Her Majesty's chief inspector of railways has confirmed that door operation by the driver is as safe – and potentially safer – than by a conductor, and since the change we are running more trains with a second member of staff assigned. If, in exceptional circumstances, a second person isn't available we will run a train, rather than cancel it, because it is in passengers' interests to do so, and we have procedures in place to help disabled passengers. If the RMT had its way, the train would be cancelled leaving all passengers on the platform."
The walkout ends at midnight tonight.