Unofficial strikes contributing to Southern Rail chaos HR boss claims as passengers

first_imgGot to stop saying that: “London’s about an hour away from Brighton”- it’s not. Ever. @SouthernRailUK make sure of that. @GOVUK— greg mchugh (@gregjmchugh) November 30, 2016 National Rail has warned passengers there will be “severe disruption” with no services on most routes. The problems are expected to last “every day… until further notice”.A spokesman for Southern welcomed the decision by the RMT to cancel a three-day strike that was due to take place immediately before Christmas but added that he believed the new dates, from December 19, were still planned to cause “maximum disruption”.  Her average daily commute had, in recent months, risen to more than four hours a day, when it should be around two hours, she said. “Like many parents trying to commute between London and Brighton, a half-hour delay can be the difference between getting to see your children and reading them a bedtime story,” she said. “The service has been diabolical and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.” Rush hour? No it’s the 22:50 (left Vic at 23:05) @SouthernRailUK to Brighton with 4 carriages. This service is a disgrace around the clock— Peter Kyle MP (@peterkyle) November 30, 2016 Southern rail staff have been embroiled in a bitter dispute with the company for months over changes to the role of conductors on trains.  The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union is concerned about potential job losses as well as safety. In a separate row, the general secretary of Aslef, a separate union, has also argued that driver-only operated doors are “inherently unsafe”. Southern has insisted no jobs are at risk and says its plans are safe. Yesterday, Abigail Nairne, the HR manager for Southern, said that the company believes it is experiencing “unofficial” industrial action with staff members increasingly calling in sick. Strike action is expected to severely disrupt services from 6 Dec.Plans are being drawn up, keep checking for latest— Southern (@SouthernRailUK) November 30, 2016 “By announcing new dates in the same week, they will still be disrupting passengers’ travel plans at this busy time,” he said, as he urged for all industrial action to be called off.RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our guards on Southern are in daily contact with passengers and the support for our fight to defend safety remains phenomenal.”He added: “It is from that daily feedback from passengers that the union has taken the decision to alter the dates for action over Christmas. That’s the difference between us and Southern. We listen, they don’t.” Unofficial rail strikes are causing chaos across the south of the country, a Southern boss has claimed as passengers were warned to expect severe disruption every day  “until further notice”.Hundreds of thousands of passengers are facing daily delays and cancellations, with problems set to get worse next week when combined rail and Tube strike action is expected to bring services to a standstill. Her comments came after Aslef ordered members not to take up any “non-contractual” work, such as overtime, which the company relies on to carry out a full service.Commuters will face major delays from Tuesday, with combined strike action by hundreds of drivers at Southern and Transport for London (TfL). Drivers will stage further strikes on December 13, 14 and 16 as well as January 9 to January 14. Conductors from the service will strike on December 19 and 20, and from New Year’s Eve to January 2. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A half-hour delay can be the difference between getting to see your children and reading them a bedtime storyEleanor Harris The problem has got so bad that the head of Britain’s latest tourist innovation – the i360 in Brighton – announced on Tuesday that she had decided to quit her job as poor rail service meant she no longer sees her children.Eleanor Harris, the chief executive of the observation tower, said her commute from Clapham Junction, in south London, to the seaside town – just 60 miles away – had been made “increasingly difficult”. “We do believe we are experiencing unofficial industrial action,” she said. “Our sickness rate has more than doubled. I know it is the season for illness but even for our normal sick levels we are experience a lot more and it’s definitely unofficial action.”She insisted Southern was not going to reduce services but said the company could not plan for the increased sickness. “I hope it will change,” she added. “Whilst there is the action, it is going to be a struggle… Things will get better.” On Wednesday, 13 trains were cancelled due to driver sickness. last_img

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