A rail strike due to shutdown the entire Southern network next week has been cut from six days to three according to national reports.
Both train drivers’ union ASLEF along with the RMT union have been locked in a dispute with rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway over the introduction of driver-only operation on Southern services.
This would mean that drivers would open and close train doors, with conductors transferring to the role of on-board supervisor and both unions have raised safety concerns about the changes.
Members of ASLEF held three days of strike action in December, which led to no Southern services running, and were due to hold another walkout from Monday January 9 to Saturday January 14.
But this has been cut to three days on Tuesday January 10, Wednesday January 11, and Friday January 13 according to national reports.
A spokeman for Southern said: “This is a cynical ploy to minimise the impact on ASLEF’s drivers’ pay packets and maximises misery, disruption and hardship for passengers.
“ASLEF’s move shows pure contempt for the travelling public and it still causes massive disruption over next week.
“These strikes are pointless and they should call the whole thing off and let common sense prevail.”
But Mick Whelan, general secretary at ASLEF, said they were taking a ‘longer-term view of this trade dispute’.
He added: “The company has not been prepared to move – it is simply going through the motions, turning up at ACAS, as it did yesterday, and telling us that it intends to impose DOO [driver-only operation].
“We remain committed to a negotiated settlement, as was reached with ScotRail, but it is difficult to negotiate with people who are not prepared to be flexible.
“We still believe a deal can be done but we are, at the moment, a long way from that position. It is time for the company to come up with a genuine offer rather than carry on posturing.”
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