Balloting of conductors on Southern Rail has delivered more than 70% for strike action and an even bigger majority for action short of a strike. The dispute is over a range of issues which have led to a comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations:
• Failure to deal with rostering issues raised by the union despite prolonged negotiations
• Abuse of the Conductors Restructuring Agreement
• Insufficient establishment levels to cover work
The ballot result will now be considered by RMT’s executive.
Despite strenuous efforts by RMT officials to resolve these issues through negotiation the company have dug their heels in meaning that no agreement has yet been reached.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The staffing shortages on Southern are a disgrace and are creating daily problems. Our members have now shown just how angry they are in this magnificent ballot result which will now be considered by the union’s executive. This is a vital and lucrative franchise where commuters pay thousands of pounds a year to travel on services that are chronically under-staffed and RMT members have had enough of it.
“This union will not sit back while staffing levels are pared to the bone on rail franchises and our members run ragged solely in the interests of private company profits.
“RMT remains available for further talks and we hope that in light of this ballot result the company will now see sense.”