The planned six-day rail strike has been cut to three days. Although this is good news for passengers, more train strikes are planned at the end of January.
Strike days announced in January are the 10th, 11th, and 13th, together with the 24th, 25th, and 27th
The dispute which focuses on safety issues of driver-only trains has been running for several months. Services on days which are not affected by the strike will be affected by the current overtime ban.
Southern Rail has established the unenviable reputation as being one of the worst, if not the worst run rail network in Britain. Passengers have faced a year of delays and cancellation before the strike commenced. This has called for Britain’s public train services to be renationalised.
Aslef leader, Mick Whelan, said, “We are taking a longer-term view of this trade dispute. The company has not been prepared to move – it is simply going through the motions, turning up at Acas and telling us that it intends to impose driver-only operation.
“We remain committed to a negotiated settlement, as was reached with ScotRail, but it is difficult to negotiate with people who are not prepared to be flexible.”
The union cut the planned dispute from six days to three to minimise disruption to passengers.
To try and help passengers Southern Rail have organised a series of coaches and busses to try and help passengers commute. They have advised people to work from home and avoid commuting unless absolutely necessary.
Southern Rail passenger service director said, “There will be significant disruption and hardship next week caused by these pointless and unnecessary strikes. With this package of measures, we are putting in place a very limited number of alternative options to help people with essential travel needs get where they need to be.
“Unfortunately, there is no practical way we could replace 2,000-plus trains we run each day with buses, but what we are doing is providing transport to link some passengers into other operators’ stations where services are running normally.”
Reports as to the cause of the strike have been sketchy, but it is believed that it is due to safety concerns.