British rail minister Claire Perry steps down

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

British Rail minister Claire Perry resigned on Thursday evening, after continuing problems with Southern Rail.

File photo of Claire Perry, 2015.
Image: Paul Bigland.

Southern has an ongoing dispute with the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) about increasing driver-only services, without conductors or guards. The union objected, citing concerns about job losses and driver safety.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said "This utter mess is now an embarrassment to our city" and that he was "calling on the government to strip Southern of its franchise and take over the temporary responsibility of running these services." Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin focused instead on the union, saying "Most industrial disputes are about threats to employment or conditions so the RMT's attitude is absurd. There is no threat to safety, no threat to jobs, no threat to pay and yet they continue disrupting passengers' lives on a daily basis."

In an attempt to reduce cancellations and delays, on Monday the company cut 341 trains a day, in light of the current staff shortages. They said since this change the trains' reliability improved from 60% on-time to 80%.


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