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.