BREAKING NEWS: Railway station staff to strike over ticket office cuts

Official opening of Hassocks railway station ENGSUS00120130507120813

Official opening of Hassocks railway station ENGSUS00120130507120813

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Railway station staff are due to strike over cuts to ticket office opening hours planned across Sussex.

The RMT union has already called a 48-hour strike starting Wednesday September 7 over Govia Thameslink Railway’s plans to change the role of conductors to on-board supervisors on Southern services.

Now RMT members will also hold a 24-hour walkout on September 7 over GTR’s plans to cut the opening hours of its station ticket offices.

The union fears the reorganisation will affect dispatchers and barrier staff in the near future.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said; “The Govia Thamelink franchise is in meltdown and not fit for purpose. Not content with axing catering services, closing ticket offices and attacking the role of their guards they now want to threaten 130 station jobs and compromise the safety of both their passengers and staff alike.

“Our members have made it clear that they will not stand by while this basket-case franchise unleashes yet another attack on jobs and services in the drive for profits and that is why we have no option but to take strike action.

“These cuts plans fly in the face of the response from the thousands of passengers who objected to the closure of ticket offices and the de-staffing of stations as Govia drives on with plans for a “faceless railway” where the public are left to fend for themselves on rammed-out, dangerous and unreliable services.

“It is about time Govia Thameslink started acting responsibly, halted their cuts plans and got round the table with the union in serious and genuine talks.”

Proposals would see most ticket offices across Sussex open on weekday peak times only, typically between 7-10am, with ‘station hosts’ selling tickets on concourses at other times of the day.

Both Falmer and Lancing’s offices are set to close completely, while locations facing cuts include Angmering, Barnham, Bexhill, Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley, East Grinstead, Eastbourne, Hassocks, Horley, Horsham, Hove, Lewes, Littlehampton, Polegate, Portslade, Shoreham, and Worthing.

Late last week the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) started to ballot more than 250 ticket office and platform staff, with the results due to be announced on Friday September 2.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, said: “We cannot stand by and allow GTR to reduce Southern Railway to a second class operation which is not fit for passengers and staff.

“Passengers have suffered enough over the past few months and it is now time for Chris Grayling [Transport Secretary] to act. GTR should be stripped off this franchise and it should be handed over to the publicly run Transport for London as Sadiq Khan has suggested.

“Then we will have a publicly run franchise which will be operating in the public interest, not in the interest of private shareholders.”

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