Second of five rail strikes taking place today as pay dispute continues

09 November, 2017, 01:55 | Author: Kristine Mills
  • Tens of thousands of rail passengers will again face disruption on Tuesday as staff at the State-owned transport company stage a second 24-hour strike as part of a campaign for a pay increase. File

Mick Whelan, ASLEF's general secretary, said: "The agreement means we will have a second safety-trained person on every train covered by this agreement except in exceptional circumstances". Strikes making it hard to get around will be a "very visible" sign that things are not working as they should.

Strike action has caused delays and cancellations across the Southern network stretching back to April 2016, after Govia Thameslink Railway - Southern's parent company - announced plans to remove conductors from its trains, leaving them exclusively operated by the driver.

Aslef members backed the agreement, which includes a pay rise of 28.5% over five years.

Many services will not be affected, but others will be cancelled, replaced by buses or busier than normal.

The biggest disruption is threatened at South Western Railway, which only took over the franchise from South West Trains in August, with more than a third of services set to be hit.

A Southern Rail train.

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"Should, in certain circumstances, a train not have that second person on board then it will still be able to run until a replacement can be provided".

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Southern, South Western Railway (SWR) and Greater Anglia are due to strike today and Thursday while a 24-hour walkout will be held at Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North later today. Greater Anglia plans to run a full service as most trains do not have guards, while Southern said for the most part it will be "business as usual", with some alterations planned.

"The independent rail regulator has said driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for more than 30 years, are safe".

The union's general secretary, Mick Cash, said: "These strikes are about rail safety and accessibility pure and simple".

Driver will be responsible for opening and closing train doors, with guards transferred to the role of the on-board supervisor.

"This dispute is not about jobs - Southern has already introduced the changes which the unions are striking over and no one has lost their job or any pay as a result - in fact there are more staff on Southern trains".

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