Southern 'providing more trains' for latest RMT strike

Southern train
Image caption Further strikes are planned for just before Christmas and over the new year

Southern rail passengers facing disruption from the latest RMT strike have been told 62% of the normal timetable is operating.

Union members walked out for 48 hours at midnight in the long-running dispute over the role of conductors on trains.

Southern said it was doing "everything it could to provide as many services for passengers as possible".

One commuter tweeted his train was "rammed", while another described the service as "shambolic".

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The RMT said the strike action was "rock solid and determined".

Mick Cash, general secretary of the union, said: "The resilience and solidarity of our members remains undiminished despite the threats and bullying thrown at them."

He said the RMT was calling on the government to "force Southern back to the negotiating table instead of just jamming their heads in the sand".

Image copyright Rob Delicata
Image caption Rob Delicata said his train to Victoria from Three Bridges was "rammed"
Image copyright Iain Small
Image caption Iain Small said his crowded train was no worse than usual

Passenger Rob Delicata tweeted: "It's absolutely rammed on the 07:08 Three Bridges to Victoria service."

Another commuter, Iain Small, posted on Twitter: "OK definitely not! It's shambolic but no more than usual on @SouthernRailUK."

The RMT is planning further stoppages, including just before Christmas and over the new year.

Govia Thameslink (GTR), Southern's parent company, said on strike days it used "contingency conductors" - members of the management team.

'Pointless strike'

Southern's passenger services director Angie Doll said as many services as possible would be provided.

"Over 99% of affected conductors have now signed up to the new role, which makes this strike even more pointless," she said.

There will be an additional train service between Tonbridge, in Kent, and Redhill, in Surrey, in addition to the Victoria/Haywards Heath shuttles introduced during the last strike.

Trains between London Victoria and Chichester, in West Sussex, will also run later.

On certain routes there will be no train services, with some stations closed.

'Where's the accountability?'

The chief executive of Brighton and Hove Albion has urged the government and MPs to "step in and resolve the rail dispute".

Paul Barber's comments came after thousands of fans were left stranded following the game between the Seagulls and Aston Villa.

"There's no accountability, there's no responsibility and there doesn't seem to be any pride in providing a service to the public," he said.

"It's not just about 30,000 people coming to a football match, this dispute is having a devastating effect on people's lives."

Further RMT strike dates:

  • 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

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