The Government has announcd £20m of funding for Southern Rail, to help it “get to grips” with its problem, as Southern’s parent company announced a £100m profit. Sadly, the dispute with the RMT union continues. For the good of the Gatwick Diamon economy, it must end.
The dispute, over who closes the doors on the tains, seems interminable, with both sides locked into entrenched positions. The delays and cancellations are causing significant problems for businesses in the Gatwick Diamond.
If allowed to continue, the dispute will damage jobs at a time, following the Brexit vote, when we need no further obstacles to growth.
One of our key assets is our connectivity. With the Airport at the heart of the Diamond, we can reach the world. The road and rail network connects us excellently (in normal times) to the rest of the UK.
Businesses considering locating in the Gatwick Diamond will note the rail situation, and the additional road congestion it causes, and give further consideration to locations in the South West Trains network, or others. We do not need any reasons not to locate or invest here.
This dispute must be solved. It is ridiculous that a Union is striking, causing huge disruption over a considerable time for commuters and businesses, over who closes the doors.
It is ridiculous that the dispute cannot be resolved by a profitable employer in bilateral talks or those facilitated by a third party.
It is ridiculous that the Government cannot intervene and bang heads together. The £20m funding is welcome, but action is required too. The dispute must end for the good of our economic future.