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Rail staff fear job losses on Southern route through East Sussex
12:40pm Sunday 17th February 2013 in News
Rail staff at various stations across the south could lose their jobs, it has been revealed.
Southern rail chiefs are meeting this month to discuss plans to release station staff on the East Coastway route, stretching from Ashford in Kent to Brighton.
The biggest exodus would be at Eastbourne station, where up to eight staff, including ticket office workers and platform personnel, are facing the chop. Other stations affected include Bexhill, Lewes, Rye and Polegate.
The Argus understands a reshuffle of roles could see the loss of up to 25 jobs – but Southern is insisting no one will leave the business and there will be no redundancies.
An anonymous Southern employee contacted The Argus yesterday to reveal Paul Wyborn, the East Coastway area manager, had issued an email to staff warning them that leaks to the press “would not be tolerated” and anyone caught talking to the media would be charged with gross misconduct.
The caller, who has worked for Southern for several years, said: “They’ve told us if we speak to the press they’ll bring charges of gross misconduct and we’ll be fired.
“There’s never a good time to lose your job, especially in this climate.
“The problem is staff on the platform and at the electric gates are being replaced with lower grade and untrained staff who don’t know how to operate machines.
“They aren’t suitable to handle incidents on the platform, like fights for example.”
Paul Cox, from transport union RMT, said: “It does appear there are staff cuts on the way but we hope there will be no redundancies.
“We haven’t yet made a decision on how to approach this. We’ll do everything we can to help the staff.”
He added: “We haven’t had a chance to talk with Southern as it’s very early days. We are meet- ing them on February 25 to discuss proposals.”
A spokesman from Southern said: “We have just completed a station by station review on the East Coastway to determine how we can deploy staff so that we can offer the best customer service possible.
“We are not in a position to be able to make public what these changes will be as we are talking to our staff, but what we can say is that there are no plans to lose anyone from our business as a result of the review.
“At this stage, as we are consulting with our staff, we won’t be commenting any further.”
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