Published: 13:00, 01 December 2016
| Updated: 13:39, 01 December 2016
Unions have scrapped a Southern Rail walkout which would have disrupted passengers' Christmas travel plans.
The RMT today announced it is calling off a three-day walkout from December 22, but will now stage a 48-hour strike from the 19th.
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the company that owns the franchise, has been in a battle with its workers for months over plans for more driver-only trains.
Staff now plan to hold the new December walkout, with a further three days already planned from New Year's Eve.
Southern runs services through Tonbridge and Ashford.
The Rail, Maritime, and Transport Union (RMT) posted on its website to announce the strikes.
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said when the strikes were originally announced: "Yet again the sheer pig-headedness of the company and the Government means that our members are being forced to take further industrial action in a bid to maintain a safe and secure service on Southern Rail.
"In the light of the continuing public anger at the absolute state of the Southern Rail operation it is disgraceful that neither the company or the Government are prepared to engage and are continuing to attempt to impose driver-only operation in the interests of putting profit before safety.
"We call on them to get round the negotiating table rather than jamming their heads in the sand."
A spokesman for Govia Thameslink said: "This has never been about safety; it’s purely about the RMT hanging on to outdated working practices and union power."
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