Fresh Southern strike announcement follows fine for delays

Southern's drivers have announced fresh strikes in a dispute over pay

Southern's drivers have announced fresh strikes in a dispute over pay

The owner of Southern Rail has been fined £13.4m ($17.3m) by the Department for Transport over its poor performance. The union industrial action that has so often disrupted services is totally unjustified and must stop now.

This also came after Network Rail non-executive director Chris Gibb published his much-anticipated report on Southern, which concluded that issues with the unions were the primary reason behind the crisis hitting the franchise.

The company, whose services are used by 30,000 passengers a day, has been told the money must be spent on improving services.

In a letter to GTR CEO Charles Horton, Grayling explained his decision, saying that passengers who depend on Southern had been badly let down.

Aslef the train driver's union has announced Thursday, more walkouts for August over the ongoing dispute with the beleaguered train operator, Southern rail over the driver-only operated trains. Its general secretary, Mick Cash, said: "This latest whitewash of the Southern rail shambles by the government is hardly a surprise when they've been up to their necks in this fiasco right from day one".

A Southern Railway train
Southern Rail owner fined £13.4m over poor performance

'My officials have determined that in many cases force majeure does not apply to the number of trains cancelled or the length of trains in service, ' he said.

But he added: 'GTR must also do better in providing services.

But services have also been impacted by extensive railway improvement works, with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) admitting it had "underestimated" the impact of this.

"There is still no end in sight to the problems of Southern".

Southern drivers are already working to rule by refusing overtime in a separate dispute with GTR over the introduction of driver only operation on some routes - the issue which sparked the industrial action which has been causing delays since April 2015. To do so in protest against an offer to increase pay by 24% is simply breathtaking.

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A Southern spokesman said: "To call three days of strikes spread across a week is a deliberate move..."

"Commuters, the vast majority of whom are seeing pay rises many times less, will understandably be as shocked and frustrated as we are".

"We run the most congested network in the United Kingdom where passenger journeys have doubled in the last 12 years".

Train drivers' union ASLEF has called a ban on overtime working and is also now balloting its members on further strike action.

"The settlement acknowledges that the industrial action taken by the trade unions has been a major contributor to the disruption experienced by passengers in the past year".

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