Gatwick Express staff balloted over strike action

Rail workers on the Gatwick Express are to be balloted for strikes in a row over a jobs.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said increased automation would threaten posts and was asking its members to vote over industrial action.

The union said plans to gate Gatwick Airport and Victoria stations would have a detrimental effect on the service and hit jobs.

Southern trains said it was disappointed by the RMT's decision.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Yet again this trade union is forced to ballot our members for action because a train operating company is threatening jobs in order to fatten up profits.

'Slashing customer service'

"Go-Ahead - which co-owns the Southern franchise - recorded an increase in rail profits of nearly 30% earlier this month raking off £48m from the railways.

"They will also be looking forward to a whacking great increase in fares in January while slashing customer service by threatening to dump on-train staff through these automation proposals.

"With this week's shocking rise in the unemployment figures, of course we will be doing all that we can within our power to defend our members' jobs on Gatwick Express."

In a statement, a spokesman for Southern trains said: "We are disappointed that the RMT has decided to go down this route as we have been consulting with them over this issue and assured them that we don't anticipate any job losses as a result of this."

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