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Rail conductors, Royal Mail managers and civil servants taking industrial action

Published 16/05/2016

Southern conductors will be on strike
Southern conductors will be on strike

A series of strikes and other forms of industrial action is set to break out this week in disputes involving workers including rail conductors, Royal Mail managers and civil servants.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Southern Railway will stage a 24 hour walkout on Wednesday - the day of the Queen's Speech - in a row over the role of conductors and driver only trains

The union switched the strike from Friday in response to the "threatening and abusive" stance the company is adopting, including setting a deadline of May 20 for staff to sign up to company plans to change the role of conductors.

The RMT accused the company of refusing to hold meaningful talks.

A company spokesman said: "This is clearly a cynical ploy by RMT leadership to maximise the disruption their action will have on passengers by moving the strike, with the bare minimum of notice the law requires, from a Friday, when fewer people traditionally travel, to midweek. This action is completely unnecessary. There's a job for everyone who wants one and no-one will have a cut in salary. The only difference is that conductors will no longer close a train's doors.

"We totally refute the RMT's groundless allegations. The refusal of the RMT union to negotiate has left us with no option but to press on with our plans to evolve the role of the conductor on many of our services."

A strike last month disrupted Southern services, causing travel misery for passengers.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union will strike on Thursday after voting overwhelmingly for action over plans to close the Sheffield office of the Business Department and move jobs to London.

In a ballot, 96% of the 150 affected members voted for strikes on a 53% turnout. The union is also considering a timetable for further walkouts.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced earlier this year it plans to close the Sheffield site by 2018.

Nearly 5,000 Royal Mail managers are ramping up industrial action in a long-running pay dispute. Unite warned that postal deliveries will face disruption as 4,800 managers start an overtime ban from Wednesday, building on from a work to rule which began on May 4.

GMB members at wood products firm Metsa Wood at Boston and Widnes will launch an overtime ban this week followed by a day of action on Thursday over pay.

National officer Dave Hulse accused the company of refusing to discuss the dispute.

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