Southern has slammed rail union RMT’s allegations that the company is lying to the public about train delays as ‘simply ludicrous’.
Union chiefs said they believed the company was ‘attempting to shift the scandal of short-staffing’ onto the workforce.
In a letter to Southern MD Charles Horton, a union representative that a driver, train and guard were available to work on the 7.10 on June 1 from Brighton to Lewes, but that the train was cancelled due to shortage of train crew.
But Southern said this situation – and similar one from London Bridge to Tattenham Corner – was simply down to ‘human error’.
The Southern spokesperson said, “In one, a train was cancelled because we wrongly thought the crew were not available. By the time the crew arrived for the service, it was too late to reinstate it.
“In the other instance, an incorrect explanation was inadvertently given as the reason behind a cancellation.
“Both of these mistakes are regrettable, but must be seen in the context of unprecedented levels of staff sickness resulting in more than 80 train cancellations each day, and putting pressure on the staff who are at work.
”The accusation that we are deliberately cancelling services is quite simply ludicrous.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, “RMT will not tolerate the disgraceful attempts to blame the current operational crisis at Southern/GTR on the front-line staff when the responsibility lies with those at the top and their gross mismanagement of this basket-case franchise.
“The company are caught our red-handed today cancelling services that were fully staffed and blaming the guards for the cancellation of services that don’t even have guards on board.
“That is conclusive proof that the company are engineering the current shambles so that they can knock lumps out of their own staff. They are an absolute disgrace.
“RMT also proves today that Southern never staffed up their new guards rosters and are carrying vacancies that they have no intention of filling of around 10 per cent.
“That is the root cause of the staffing shortage and is entirely down to the shambolic management of this franchise and is nothing to do with our members on the front-line.
“Southern should stop the dirty tricks and start talking with us in a serious and responsible manner.”
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