England

Southern rail Passengers Matter award nomination 'beyond satire'

Passengers on a platform Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Passengers have suffered months of disruption in a long-running dispute over the role of guards

The announcement that the owner of Southern has been shortlisted for a Passengers Matter award is "beyond satire", said union boss Mick Cash.

Govia Thameslink Railway has been shortlisted by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACORP).

Staff shortages and industrial action over the role of conductors have caused months of disruption on the network.

Southern praised the work of volunteers and said Mr Cash should "hang his head in shame" for the link to the dispute.

Southern owner Govia Thameslink is shortlisted in three categories for the ACORP awards - Passengers Matter, Involving Young People and Involving Diverse Groups.

It is also a sponsor of two other categories in the awards, which will be announced later this month.

'Highly paid mob'

The rail operator introduced a reduced service in July after months of delays and cancellations which it blamed on "unprecedented" staff sickness.

Mr Cash, RMT general secretary, said: "The only 'hard work and community dedication' going on at Southern Rail is from the frontline staff.

"They are the unsung heroes and heroines who have fought tirelessly to defend safety, services and access to rail for all against a torrent of smears and abuse from the GTR dirty tricks machine.

"The idea that the company top brass... could be considered for a Passengers Matter accolade is way beyond satire.

"These are the highly-paid mob responsible for axing guards, closing ticket offices and throwing the catering trolleys off the trains."

Southern said in a statement: "These awards recognise the hard work and achievements of the individuals and local community groups who voluntarily give up their time to brighten up stations for everyone to enjoy.

"Station Partnerships such as the Aldingbourne Trust, an organisation which helps adults with learning difficulties, make a real difference by planting and tending floral displays. Other partnerships include schools, nurseries, resident groups and local businesses."

"Mick Cash should hang his head in shame trying to link a futile industrial dispute to the fantastic work done by our community partners."

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