Conservative column: Rail strikes will spoil Christmas for many

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Christmas isn’t far away but the RMT trade union seems determined to disrupt it for as many Crawley people as possible. Their announcement of more train strikes over Christmas and New Year is disgraceful.

Friday and Saturday last week saw their third strike in their existing series of five.

This was cynically timed to coincide with the famous Lewes bonfire celebrations, meaning that many people from Sussex were unable to attend. As you can see below, as well as the two existing strikes to come, the timings of the two further announced strikes have the potential to disrupt Christmas travel, including for those travelling to be with their families. The upcoming strikes dates are:

•Tuesday 22 November and Wednesday 23 November

•Tuesday 6 December to Thursday 8 December

•Thursday 22 December to Saturday 24 December

•Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January

There is no justification whatsoever for the RMT to make passengers suffer like this.

It is very telling is that one of the changes the RMT is fighting, is not allowing a conductor sickness on any given route to stop that service from operating. Currently, the on-going high levels of conductor ‘sickness’ means a service is cancelled when the conductor who rides that route doesn’t show up for work. Allowing a service to continue with another conductor or without one takes power away from the RMT to disrupt services.

The following quote from Southern Rail reinforces what these strikes are really about: “These strikes are spiteful, vindictive and pointless given the majority of conductors have now signed up to the new on-board role. This has never been about safety - it’s purely about the RMT hanging on to outdated working practices and union power.”

Crawley’s rail passengers shouldn’t forget that their suffering is supported by Crawley’s Labour Councillors who all voted against asking their Corbynite friends at the RMT to call off their strikes. Crawley has a very clear political divide between the Conservatives who always put Crawley and supporting its people first, and Labour who always put their own left-wing politics and supporting trade union strikes first.

Contributed by councillor for Furnace Green Duncan Crow