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Government assures Southern Rail passengers
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Published: 14th September 2016
This Article was Written by: Richard Furlong - City Surveys Group
The Minister in charge of the nation’s railways, Rail Minister Paul Maynard, has publicly expressed his determination to fix, once and for all, issues relating to the Southern Rail network.
Southern Rail, which is experiencing ongoing disputes with the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (otherwise known as the RMT) over staffing and safety issues on trains, is due to meet with Mr Maynard later this week.
Thanks to its status as the main rail line connecting the capital with the key commuter counties of Hampshire, Kent, Sussex and Surrey, the substantial number of cancellations and postponements on the Southern network has been leading many to miss or be late for work. Indeed, a number of commuters claim to have faced disciplinary action or dismissal due to their inability to get to work on time.
Taking only three online public petitions into account, at the time of writing a total of 43,880 signatures had been received demanding that Govia Thameslink, the troubled operator of the Southern network, be stripped of their franchise. In a direct response to one of these petitions, however, the Government responded…
“Govia Thameslink Railway are delivering plans to reverse decades of under-investment on the rail network. Removing the franchise from GTR will not address the challenges on this part of the network.”
Whilst the Minister has reiterated his commitment to resolving these “unacceptable” issues, aiming to guarantee a more reliable service for commuters, the steps that have been put in place have been called “pitiful” by the head of the RMT, Mick Cash. Another union representative claimed that all of their proposals had been rejected “out of hand” and that this has ensured that services will continue to be understaffed and thus unsafe into the future.
In news not destined to please commuters, an RMT representative has stated his belief that this dispute could easily continue until Christmas 2016.