Socialist Worker

End of the line for Southern rail firm Govia?

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2539

Sack Southern - workers on an RMT protest last year

Sack Southern - workers on an RMT protest last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The government is considering stripping Govia Thameslink Railway of its contract, according to senior rail industry insiders. If true, it would be a humiliating defeat for the Tories.

Rail Business Intelligence magazine reported last week that plans are far advanced enough to have a codename and a potential new managing director identified.

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) denial is unconvincing and the end of the line may have been reached for Govia.

For more than a year its Southern Railway service has been woeful.

The DfT has investigated the company’s claim that official and unofficial industrial action by workers has caused its poor performance.

It does not bode well for the operator that the results have not been published and the firm has been invited to challenge the outcome.

Train guards and drivers in the RMT and Aslef unions have staged weeks of strikes on the network in the past ten months over the extension of driver only operation (DOO).

The Tories hired Govia to go to war with the unions to impose DOO and then roll it out across the rest of Britain’s railways.

As the bosses’ Financial Times newspaper said, stripping Govia of its contract “would hand the two unions a significant victory”.

New Tube station strike

London Tube station workers were set to strike from 6pm on Sunday until 10am on Monday of next week.

A second strike is planned from 10am on Tuesday until 1am on Wednesday.

The RMT union members are in dispute over the impact of huge staffing cuts that one union member said has left safety “on a knife edge”.

The TSSA union decided not to join the strikes. This is a missed opportunity.

The walkout comes a week after strikes by Tube drivers on the Central and Waterloo & City lines.

RMT members on the Central line struck against the forced displacement of drivers.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said, “This action has been provoked by a pointless and aggressive approach by London Underground (LU) that is entirely cash-led.

“With massive budget cuts in the pipeline at LU this is a straw in the wind as to how the company expects to operate in the future.”

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