MPs have lambasted striking rail workers after passengers faced more travel misery from another rail strike.
Workers on Southern Rail began a 48-hour walkout yesterday, following months of disputes between the rail company and the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union over the role of conductors.
The fact is the overwhelming majority of conductors have accepted their new role, so the decision by RMT to plunge passengers into further chaos is pointless.Suella Fernandes MP
The decision to strike was heavily criticised by Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, who is campaigning to improve the Solent area’s rail network.
She said: ‘The fact is the overwhelming majority of conductors have accepted their new role, so RMT’s decision to plunge passengers into further chaos is pointless.
‘Too many people in Fareham have been affected by delays, arriving late for work, putting jobs at risk, getting home late and putting strain on families.
‘Southern Rail must now ensure that all those due compensation receive it.
‘This strike action is inexcusably appalling.’
Her views were echoed by Flick Drummond, MP for Portsmouth South, who said: ‘Almost all of Southern’s guards have accepted new contracts now, with no negative impact on their pay and conditions, as Southern always promised.
‘There are challenges we need to face in updating our rail infrastructure, but these strikes are an unwelcome distraction.’
Julie Blundell, from Cosham, was left feeling frustrated after her commute from Havant lasted an hour as she had to travel via Fratton as opposed to the usual eight minutes with a direct service.
She said: ‘It annoys me but I feel more sorry for the people who have to travel home from London. It’s horrendous.’
The RMT says it continues to have public support over the strikes, with more planned in the run-up to Christmas and in the new year.
General secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Yet again the sheer pigheadedness of the company and the government means that our members are being forced to take further industrial action.’
Southern’s passenger services director Angie Doll said the rail company is doing everything it can to provide services.