Southern rail strike begins after court rejects appeal – live updates

Southern rail strike begins after court rejects appeal – live updates

Follow the latest on the disruption caused by strike action after the court of appeal rejected a second attempt by Southern rail to stop it

9.25am GMT

If you’ve been affected by the strike we’d like to hear from you. Are you taking alternative means to get into work or are you staying at home? If you won’t be making it into the office, what are you doing instead? You can share your experiences, photos and videos with us by clicking on the blue ‘Contribute’ button on the blog.”

9.21am GMT

Opposition politicians continue to blame the government for the strike.

Green party joint leader Caroline Lucas urged ministers to do more to resolve the dispute.

Profound sympathy with other #Southernfail passengers battling rail system today. Govt should be actively resolving it not washing hands

Southern Rail shows a railway system that, as Labour has highlighted for years, doesn’t work for passengers. Zero accountability or control

Judges rule @ASLEFunion legitimately taking industrial action. Legal burden on unions already onerous. Tories now want to ban rail strikes

This @BBCr4today interview isn’t going well for the train union guy – sounds like he wants the strike simply to be vindictive #justsaying

9.01am GMT

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has been giving a series of broadcast interviews expressing his view that the strike is “futile”.

His department has also posted a defiant video address in which Grayling says: “We are not prepared to end the modernisation of the railways.”

Unions strike action unnecessary. No jobs being lost and no pay being cut  – unions disputing who presses button to close train doors.

8.55am GMT

Julian Glover, former special adviser at the department for transport, insists thats the strike is about union pride and their control of the railways rather than safety as the unions claim.

Miserable rail strike isn’t about 1. safety – driver control’s been used since BR and it’s fine or 2. jobs, protected. Or pay.

Strike IS about 1. union control of rail – can trains run w/out RMT permission 2. pride. Southern’s got people’s backs up.

Unions should meet govt. without conditions and talk. Old working practices + higher costs + higher fares = less investment, worse trains

8.46am GMT

Commuters at Balham station are being forced to take taxis to work, writes Damien Gayle.

Andrea Dunn, 24, and Gemma, who declined to give her surname, 32, were
waiting outside Balham station to share an Uber taxi. “We’re total
strangers waiting to share an Uber now,” Gemma said.
Dunn, who works at Sky, said she had absolutely no idea what the
strike action was about. But Gemma, who said she would miss a client
meeting as a result of the strike, had stronger opinions. “I’m blaming
the RMT,” she said. “I think they are too aggressive, too frequent.”
Asked what she knew about the reasons for the strike, Gemma said:
“Train guards and locking doors, I think. Not having enough train
guards; they want to take train guards away so there’s no one to lock
doors in person.”
Gemma’s cynical assessment of the strike was even shared by one
southern rail worker directing passengers to alternative routes.
“These drivers are never happy, but they earn £55k,” the worker said.
“They are making these problems up. I saw my manager… normally the
RMT and him, they should be different things, right? But they go out
for drinks together. It’s all planned, we know that.
“They are going to have a very nice Christmas.”

8.44am GMT

In that video message London mayor Sadiq Khan urged the government to give Transport for London control of commuter lines like Southern, Southeastern and South West.

Addressing commuters he said: “You pay too much for delays, cancellations and disruption. You deserve a better service. Southern commuters have been abandoned by the Government. You’ve had months of chaos. But it doesn’t have to be like this.”

Southern rail passengers have been abandoned by the Government. You deserve a better service. #SouthernRail

8.41am GMT

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Grayling said: “There’s a lot of things after this is over we are going to have to take a careful look at. We can’t leave our railways exposed.

8.34am GMT

Chris Grayling says the government will look “very carefully” at possible changes to strike rules on railways to prevent the kind of action taking place today.

8.32am GMT

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, claimed rail companies are trying to modernise the way they work to give customers better services.

He added: “Hundreds of thousands of passengers are suffering needless disruption because of these strikes – despite independent expert evidence that safety isn’t at risk. Trains where drivers close the doors are safe.

8.30am GMT

Mick Whelan, general secretary of the driver union Aslef, has accused Grayling of being “less than honest on all counts”, PA reports.

He also referred to a speech made at a public meeting in Croydon earlier this year by a DfT official.

8.20am GMT

Back on Balham station Joseph Volcy, 32, is wondering how she well ever get to work at a digital marketing company.

“I just didn’t know and it’s awful, by the way I’m seeing it I won’t get to work until 11, because it’s in Kingston.

“I need to get on my phone, talk to all my clients one by one.

“It’s not the first time. I’m really disappointed. The train is never on time, sometimes it says it’s coming and just disappears. I’m thinking I have to move house. It’s bad because it really affects your morale.”

8.17am GMT

London mayor Sadiq Khan has accused the government of abandoning Southern rail commuters.

Southern rail passengers have been abandoned by the Government. You deserve a better service. #SouthernRail

8.13am GMT

Damien Gayle has been talking to angry commuters at Balham station in south London.

Jessica Knight, 23, was on her way to work at Saviles estate agent in Richmond.

“It’s a pain in the arse,” she said. “I’ll have to work from home. My boss won’t be happy.

8.10am GMT

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has rejected government claims that the strike is political and urged the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to end a “misinformation” about the action.

“RMT drivers on Southern Rail are standing shoulder to shoulder with their ASLEF colleagues this morning in a fight for safe train operation. This strike action is wholly the responsibility of a government and a company that have sought to bulldoze through changes that are ill-conceived, finance-led and fraught with danger.

8.01am GMT

Welcome to our live coverage of the latest Southern rail strike, which looks set to be the most disruptive yet.

The strike by train drivers has brought services to a complete halt after the court of appeal rejected a second attempt by the rail company to block the action.

Continue reading…

Source: Guardian Transport

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