Havant MP condemns Southern Rail strikes

Havant MP Alan Mak meets transport secretary Chris Grayling about the Southern strikes
Havant MP Alan Mak meets transport secretary Chris Grayling about the Southern strikes

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THE strike action by trade unions on Southern Rail train services has been condemned as ‘needless’ by a local MP.

Alan Mak, the Member of Parliament for Havant, has urged the Aslef union leadership to call off the strikes as negotiations resume.

The Conservative MP said residents have had enough of the ‘disruptive, unnecessary’ strikes, and met transport secretary Chris Grayling in the House of Commons to pass on the concerns of residents.

The 48-hour strike which began on Tuesday brought the Southern Rail network to a standstill, and Mr Mak has described it as ‘deeply unfair’ on the passengers unable to go about their daily lives.

The dispute is over plans to introduce modern trains with doors operated by drivers rather than guards, which have been declared safe by the rail regulator and are in use on other parts of the network.

The company claims it plans no job losses, and will protect pay for guards moving into a new role as onboard supervisors.

Mr Mak said he has been in regular contact with constituents affected by the long-running dispute, and is liaising with the transport department in Westminster.

He has demanded Aslef and the RMT unions call off their strikes, and use the offer of immediate talks with Mr Grayling to resolve the dispute.

Mr Mak said: ‘The unions have to accept the implementation of new technology, which will improve efficiency.

‘Driver-only operated trains are in use on a third of the rail network already, and have proved to be completely safe.’