Suspended Industrial Action Brings Hope

Published on by Sylvia Kusnierz (author)

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Southern rail is to restore a full train service from next Tuesday after the union suspended industrial action.


The train drivers' union ASLEF, had been due to strike for three days next week but has called off the walkouts.


The rail operator has said this week's rosters had already been issued and it would not be possible to reintroduce a full timetable until Tuesday.


The restoration of services brings good news not only to commuters, but also local businesses. The strike action has had a knock-on effect on companies in the East Sussex area.


In conjunction with the financial strain many face following the festive season, some businesses have been forced to temporarily close.


Those most severely affected seem to be cafes surrounding train stations. One owner of such a café, who wishes to remain anonymous, said “It is really difficult to carry on when it’s this quiet, but we just have to power through. Everyone just has to push through and hope it gets better. The strikes have been a setback, but hopefully things will pick back up again.”


A grandmother from Angmering has been struggling to stay afloat amidst the strikes. Fifty-seven-year-old Carol Ritchie runs a railway station buffet, but since the rail strikes started last April, she has lost so many customers that she had to cut staff hours and now cannot afford to pay herself. She fears she will not be able to pay the mortgage on her home, due to the lack of business.


A spokesperson for Southern Rail said: “We are deeply sorry for the utterly unnecessary and unwarranted disruption these disputes are causing. The unions’ response is utterly disproportionate, causing misery to 300,000 passengers a day across the South East and untold damage to the regional economy, and we fully sympathise with Ms Ritchie’s plight.”


Many business owners hope the suspension of industrial action will be the start of a means to make amends between Southern Rail and the ASLEF union, leading to greater certainty about the future of local companies. 


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