Chaos on Trains and Planes over the Christmas Break

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Proposed strikes on rail and flight in and around Southampton could severely affect student journeys when travelling home for the Christmas holidays this week.

Rail Disruption

Southern Rail, departing out of Southampton Central and travelling to London Victoria, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Brighton are going to be disrupted by ongoing industrial action.

This has been caused by workers from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Southern Railway. The dispute began when Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the parent company of Southern Rail, wished to launch a driver-operated doors on its services.

Mike Cash (the general secretary for RMT) encapsulates the concern of  conductors, stating: “We are a serious trade union dealing with serious issues around safety on the railways. That is our absolute priority.”

However, the franchise deal between the GTR and the Government over Southern Rail, requires the government to pick up all the cost for the disruption caused by the strike. Secretary of State for Travel, Chris Grayling, has suggested within the last 24 hours that this was a political action.

You can view updates about the strike here.

Aeroplanes

Industrial action affecting the UK’s airports are likely to affect the 7,000 international students at Southampton in their journeys home for the Christmas period.

On the 25th and 26th December, up to 4,500 British Airway mixed-fleet cabin crew who are members of the Unite Union at Heathrow are due to strike over pay being lower in reality than the advertised rate.  Although contingency plans are in place, it is worth checking here.

For more general updates on this strike, view details here.

Some Virgin Atlantic flights might also be affected on 23rd December, as pilots vote to work exactly to the conditions of their contracts, meaning that some flights might be not run at all.

The BBC reports that Swissport’s Unite Union members have called off their 48-hour strike on the 23rd and 24th December concernin pay disputes.  However, as there still seems to be discontent between Unite and Swissport, coupled with the fact that as two out of the eighteen airports that may still be affected in the UK in the near future include Southampton and Bournemouth, it is possible in this unpredictable time that travel may be affected if another strike is announced.

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I mainly focus on news and travel, in my Wessex Scene writing. I am a third year History student at the University, who has a passion of learning more about the world around me and visiting new places when I can. I also enjoy doing many different societies at university, including: Wessex Scene!

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