Southern Rail have entered into another dispute with the RMT union over holiday pay, amid ongoing industrial action between the two.
The RMT have accused Southern of forcing workers to “sign away their human rights” by demanding staff argue to not participate in further strikes if they want to receive their holiday pay.
The news came as the RMT finished their latest strike action, with more disruption planned over the festive period, which is set to cause chaos at one of the busiest times of the year.
A Southern spokesperson defended their position and said: “We have recently made an agreement with the RMT and we are paying [holiday pay] to everyone apart from those who are currently taking industrial action.
“Our passengers have been put through misery and it would be wrong for us to pay that while that is still going on. We will pay it once the industrial action is over.”
They also said that anyone who had agreed not to undertake any further industrial action would have their holiday pay reinstated as well.
However, speaking to The Argus, General Secretary of the RMT Mike Cash said: “This is just another outrageous and bullying attack by this basket case company on frontline staff who are doing nothing other than fighting for public safety”.
The news comes after hundreds of Aston Villa and Albion football fans were left stranded at Falmer station after trains were cancelled at last minute when a game at the AMEX finished, with claims that passenger safety was put at risk.
The spokesperson added: “Unfortunately there were some late notice cancellations and, as a result, we let the football fans down and some of them had some very long waits to get home.
“We would like to apologise unreservedly to the football fans for the inconvenience.”
Southern have launched a review of what happened that night and what it can do to prevent it from happening again.
Last week, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced plans to make an immediate review of proposals to open a second Brighton mainline, an idea that has been in the pipeline for many years.
The second mainline would run from Brighton and end at Stratford, with stops at Falmer, Lewes, Uckfield, Tunbridge Wells and Canary Wharf.
The proposed line would also have connections to other parts of the southern coast, including Seaford and Eastbourne.
In the House of Commons, Mr Grayling said: “I am well aware of the campaigning that has been behind the Brighton Mainline 2 concept. It is something that the rail minister and I are discussing.
“I am aware we have a report that has sat on the desk for much too long, and I intend to make sure it does not sit on the desk for very much longer.”
If the new line were to go ahead, it would be operated by a different train company and would not be under Southern’s remit.
Picture Credit: Daniel Green