Rail union TSSA has served notice to ballot hundreds of workers at Southeastern for strike action and action short of strike in a dispute over pay, conditions and job security.
The union is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for 2022, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living.
Ballot opens on June 23 and closes July 11 with earliest action expected by July 25.
The ballot follows hot on the heels of similar announcements in Network Rail, Cross Country, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and Avanti West Coast, Northern, LNER and C2C in an escalating dispute across the railway.
Southeastern – owned by the Department for Transport (DfT) – runs train services between London and Kent, and parts of East Sussex, operating 1,600 trains a day serving 180 stations and covering over 500 miles of track.
Stations potentially impacted include London St Pancras, Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street, as well as Dover Priory, Ramsgate, Ashford International, Dartford, Sevenoaks and many more.
TSSA has almost 350 members in a range of roles at Southeastern, including station staff, Control plus some admin and manager roles.
TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “Our members at Southeastern are seeking basic fair treatment in the teeth of a crippling cost of living crisis.
“Rail workers were hailed as heroes in the pandemic and now they deserve a real terms pay rise which keeps pace with inflation, rather than shouldering the burden of the Tories’ economic meltdown.
“Our demands are simple – pay which reflects the times we live in, a deal which delivers job security, and no race to the bottom on terms and conditions.
“It’s time the government changed course. Instead of making cuts across our railway the DfT should either give Southeastern and other companies the signal to make us a reasonable offer, or Ministers should come to the negotiating table and speak to us directly.
“The alternative is a fast-approaching summer of discontent across our rail network. Make no mistake, we are preparing for all options, including coordinated strike action which would bring trains to a halt.”
Strike action coordinated by rail union RMT will also shut down the country’s railway network on 21st, 23rd and 25th June.
ewer than 40 stations on Southeastern’s network will be open, with only the London-Orpington and Dartford lines remaining open within London, running a very limited service.
There will be no trains serving most of Kent, including the Medway Towns, Tonbridge, Maidstone, Thanet, Canterbury, Folkestone and Dover, with Highspeed trains only running between London St Pancras and Ashford.
Southeastern is unable to provide rail replacement buses or taxis and is reiterating the advice not to travel on strike days because it is likely that customers will be unable to board trains, or are unable to make their return journey, before the railway closes down in the early evening.
Fantastic news (I’m due to go on holiday via train in early July!).
Its not all about you though is it?
No, but the most important thing to me is me (and my loved ones).
Agreed they should be paid more UK is the most expensive travel in the world season rail for a year from just Ramsgate to london of peak 10 k or 30k rip of England,,,,,
So, you want to give them more pay AND you want cheaper fares? You’ll be asking for free drinks next.
It isn’t just rail strikes though is it, many other public services are doing the same, especially Bin men! Most like Railway workers, nurses etc are being expected to take a pay cut, because they haven’t had pay increases in line with inflation! The cost of living is going through the roof, and watch out for October when energy prices are set to rocket again! I saw a report recently that some nurses are finishing a shift then having to go to a Food Bank! What a way to run a country, Johnson doesn’t seem to not have missed a few meals though does he, although it would do him good!
A great many nurses look like they don’t skip meals either (though it would do them good too!). Or are we only allowed to insult podgy Tories?
Dont think there is much spare cash available for southeastern (se trains ltd) since the last operator was found to have revenue declaration discrepancies involving £25 million of public money.
Se trains ltd are running the service as an operator of last resort, bring back British rail (but not their catering).
Even their catering would be welcome on South Eastern since they scrapped the drinks and snacks trolleys (even in so-called 1st Class!).
I’m pleased they are striking .. hopefully they will have more strikes until their demands are met … up the workers !
Stop letting bullying management win
Its not just rail workers who are striking because they are in need of a raise just to keep up with inflation! In my newspaper this morning it says 460,000 teachers are being balloted to do the same, as are 115,000 Royal Mail workers, and UNISON who represent NHS staff are doing the same soon, and would you believe Criminal Barristers, and the BMA (the GP’s union!) too! Prepare for a summer of discontent!
The Left are always discontent!
At 9pm on the 1st February, on BBC2 there was a programme entitled “The decade the rich won”. It showed in forensic detail that since the economic crash of 2008, billionaires grew substantially richer, while ordinary people are earning less now than in 2008! Johnson is proposing to give the rich more money in tax breaks, and cut pay for public service workers, by not raising their pay in line with inflation! This is called the “trickle down effect”, which is supposed to mean giving more money to the rich so they spend it, and this will trickle down to the poor! Its a bankrupt theory, because billionaires would sooner put their ill gotten gains in an offshore bank, buy a yacht, or a few more houses, antiques, and art works! I would sooner Johnson and the Tory’s adopted a “Trickle Up” approach, by giving more money to the poor so they can spend it, and that way the rich capitalists will prosper too!