Belfast Telegraph

Rail staffing row as Southern warns of cancellations across network

A fresh row over rail staffing has broken out after a leading train operator warned of cancellations because of a shortage of conductors and drivers due to sickness.

Southern urged passengers to check before travelling, saying trains across the whole of its network may be cancelled or amended today.

The company has faced industrial action by conductors and is involved in legal action to prevent a threatened strike by drivers.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union accused the company's owners, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), of a " disgraceful campaign of misinformation" over the staffing "crisis" on Southern.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "The blame for cancellations lies solely with GTR and is down to their continued mismanagement of this franchise.

"The hard fact is that this company does not employ enough staff to fill the rosters and is carrying significant levels of vacancies. They do that because it saves them money and allows them to pump up the profits which can then be shipped across the Channel to subsidise their operations in France.

"For Southern/GTR to try and turn the blame for this staffing crisis onto the union is ludicrous when the public can see clearly that the fault lies squarely with this penny-pinching outfit who will stop at nothing to fleece this franchise, and its passengers, for every penny that they can."