Southern Rail withholding holiday pay from striking workers

File photo dated 11/06/15 0f a Southern Train as most rail passengers oppose plans to remove guards from trains, according to a survey ahead of a fresh strike over the role of conductors. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 17, 2016. See PA story INDUSTRY Rail. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire PPP-160519-120829001
File photo dated 11/06/15 0f a Southern Train as most rail passengers oppose plans to remove guards from trains, according to a survey ahead of a fresh strike over the role of conductors. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 17, 2016. See PA story INDUSTRY Rail. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire PPP-160519-120829001
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Southern Rail has been condemned after sending a letter to workers saying it is withholding holiday pay for those taking part in strikes.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union revealed it had received a letter from the company saying that backdated holiday pay is being withheld from conductors involved in the industrial action until the dispute is over.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said he was seeking legal advice.

He said: ‘In all the disputes we have had over the years the RMT has never had a company make it so personal against their own staff.

‘Other companies have been hostile and angry at the position the union and its members were taking but at least they treated their staff with dignity. Not Southern. They have declared war on their passengers and staff alike.’

The letter from Southern’s owners Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) says: ‘As the dispute over conductors and DOO (driver-only operation) is ongoing and your members continue to breach their contracts by taking strike action, thereby causing significant loss to the business and disruption to our customers, we will (without prejudice to our rights) withhold payment of any backdated holiday pay from conductors.

‘Any conductors who have either worked normally during the dispute, or confirm that they will now work normally during the remainder of the dispute and will not participate in further industrial action, will receive payment.

‘Failing that, GTR intends to make the appropriate payment to employees of this grade in the pay run on 30 December 2016, subject to the current dispute being concluded and no further strike dates being called.”

The union is staging a 48-hour strike from tomorrow, with more action planned in the coming weeks.

A Southern spokesman said: ‘Passengers have had to endure 15 days of strikes so far and seven more days to come. These strikes have caused misery and hardship to people’s work and family lives.

‘We feel we cannot make these payments to conductors who are currently taking industrial action.

‘The fact they have taken strike action makes the calculation of what is owed more complicated. We plan to pay them once the industrial action is over.’

Southern said it planned to run 61 per cent of normal services on the strike days.