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Posted on 22 June 2016 at 12:59 GMT

Southern conductors back on the picket lines

Southern Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) conductors were picketing again against driver-only trains, yesterday, Tuesday 21st May, outside Barnham station. Scot Rail conductors were also striking on the same issue.

The GTR conductors are determined that this will not get through and are prepared to take more strike action. This is about passenger safety as well as job losses. Guards fulfil a vital duty on board in keeping passengers safe in what is the most dangerous part of the operation, boarding and leaving the train.

If GTR is successful in its bid to get rid of the conductors this will have important consequences for the rest of the network - other franchises will try to make similar cuts.

Also the rail union RMT has received a leak indicating that civil servants at the Department of Transport are authorising train cancellations on GTR. RMT members suspect that the chaos on the GTR franchise could have been deliberately orchestrated as part of a policy to blame the staff. One recent incident involved a train driver and guard being left standing next to a train at Brighton station, along with passengers, as Southern cancelled the service claiming it was due to 'lack of staff'.

David Brown, CEO of Go Ahead, the company that operates GTR, saw his pay rise from 1.96 million in 2014 to 2.16 million in 2015.

The conductors are united and we must all support them. These attacks will keep happening until the railways are renationalised, putting people and their safety before profit and rebuilding a safe and well-run, affordable service for everyone.

Sarah Welch, Portsmouth Socialist Party

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