Southern rail strike: Second day of conductors' dispute

Southern rail conductor Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The long-running dispute is over plans for drivers, instead of conductors, to operate train doors

Passengers using Southern rail services are facing further disruption as the RMT strike enters its second day.

The 48-hour strike, which began at midnight on Tuesday, is part of a long-running dispute over the role of conductors on trains.

Southern said 62% of its services are running.

The RMT said the strike was "rock solid and determined" and called on the government to "force Southern back to the negotiating table".

Further stoppages are planned around Christmas and over the new year.

'Pure misery'

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

Commuters took to Twitter to vent their anger.

Becky Aston posted: "Between @SouthernRailUK and @RMTunion mornings are a pure misery. Really glad I got up at 4.30am to be stood on the platform for an hour."

Sam Crabb wrote: "Oh look another 2 days of losing money. Don't worry about the general public tho."

Earlier, Iain Smith tweeted: "@RMTunion Not even bothering to picket this morning outside Brighton station? Enjoy your day off."

But the union had said picket lines had been mounted outside stations in the capital and Sussex, including London Victoria and Brighton.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash thanked the travelling public for their "support and understanding" and said: "Passenger know that Southern/GTR is a basket-case rail company that has chosen to declare war on its customers and staff alike."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Commuters have faced several strikes in the long-running row over guards' roles

The RMT has said the dispute can be resolved for less than £1m - a fraction of a £20m fund announced by the government to improve services.

Mr Cash said filling 20 guard posts which were effectively "deleted" by the company in January would guarantee a second safety-critical person on the trains.

The dispute is over changes in guards' roles on new trains where the driver would take over operating the doors. The union has raised concerns about job cuts and safety.

But a spokesman for Southern said the company had offered the union a guarantee on numbers of on-board supervisors and was recruiting a further 100 people for the role.

He said: "The sticking point isn't the number of staff. It is the RMT's determination to hang on to its union muscle by insisting a train could never leave without an on-board supervisor even if that means stranding hundreds of passengers.

"This isn't about money. This is about muscle."

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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