Southern rail strikers backed by marchers in Brighton

Rail solidarity demo in Brighton - 5/11/16
Image caption The solidarity march was organised by the Brighton and Hove TUC

Protesters have taken to the streets of Brighton to support Southern rail workers taking part in the 17th day of strike action since April.

The march was organised by the Brighton and Hove TUC, with police saying about 200 people took part.

The latest 48-hour walkout by the RMT union finishes at midnight.

Southern condemned the latest stoppage as "spiteful and vindictive", but RMT general secretary Mick Cash said it put "profits before public safety".

The union is planning further action over the coming weeks, with strikes also set for the run-up to Christmas and over the new year.

Southern Rail strikes: Eight things you wanted to know

The current strike coincides with the Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations with no trains stopping in the town or at neighbouring stations.

Tens of thousands of people attend the event, many of whom travel by train.

RMT strike dates:

  • 00:01 Friday 4 November to 23:59 Saturday 5 November
  • 00:01 Tuesday 22 November to 23:59 Wednesday 23 November
  • 00:01 Tuesday 6 December to 23:59 Thursday 8 December
  • 00:01 Thursday 22 December to 23:59 Saturday 24 December
  • 00:01 Saturday 31 December to 23:59 Monday 2 January

A spokesman for Southern said industrial action over the introduction of driver-only operated (DOO) trains was "pointless".

He said the majority of conductors had signed up to the new on-board role, and the strikes were "purely about the RMT hanging on to outdated working practices and union power".

The RMT has insisted union support is still "absolutely rock solid".

Mr Cash said: "Passengers know that Southern rail under GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) is an unmitigated disaster that puts profits before public safety. That is the issue at the core of this dispute.

"The solution to this dispute can be achieved easily through a cast-iron guarantee of a second, safety-critical member of staff on all current services with a guard."

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