Southern faces legal threat in pay dispute

Southern is in a new dispute over holiday pay for striking conductors
Southern is in a new dispute over holiday pay for striking conductors
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SOUTHERN Railway is facing legal action over its decision to withhold holiday pay from workers involved in the bitter dispute over the role of conductors.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has told the company it has received legal advice that withholding backdated holiday pay was in breach of legislation.

General secretary Mick Cash said he had been told there was a case to challenge Southern, which serves Portsmouth.

In a message to RMT members, he said: ‘We will inform the company that we now expect these payments to be made to you and your colleagues with immediate effect. I will be setting a deadline for the company to respond and if the company continue to deny our members the agreed payments then claims will be placed into early conciliation and employment tribunal proceedings will be lodged with immediate effect.’

The union has launched a long campaign of industrial action, with a series of strikes in recent months and more to come, including just before Christmas and over New Year.

A Southern spokesman said: ‘Passengers have had to endure 17 days of strikes so far and 11 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.’