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Southern rail strikes: Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat criticises union bosses

By Paul Francis

A Kent MP has delivered a stinging rebuke to union bosses over the ongoing strike by Southern rail employees, accusing them of an assault on the public.

Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat has written directly to union chiefs urging them to end the strikes, accusing them of a “shameless and cynical move to increase your power base at the expense of every single passenger using the network”.

His open letter to the general secretaries of the RMT and ASLEF has accused unions of holding "some 600,000 working people hostage and severely impact the lives of their families".

A Southern Rail train. Stock picture.

A Southern Rail train. Stock picture.

“How long are you going to continue this assault on people who only want to go to work to service their community and get home to their families?” he said.

Thousands of rail passengers have yet again been enduring the consequences of the latest strike with no services on Tuesday and Wednesday and a further day of action on Friday.

More strike days are scheduled for the end of January and there appears to be little optimism of any breakthrough in efforts to resolve the dispute.

The MP says there are no grounds for the strike to continue after safety regulators said driver operated services were safe.

“Both public and private sector are being punished in your attempt to bring about a political project by force and maintain control of the railways. This is no longer acceptable, it is dictatorial, elitist and wrong,” he said.

The MP says constituents in Tonbridge, Edenbridge in Malling are having their lives and livelihoods disrupted unfairly, with people unable to get to work, school and medical appointments.

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