RAILWAY staff are looking at strike action amid a row over conductors’ rotas.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union who work at Southern will hold a ballot to decide whether they will take industrial action.

It follows claims that new work schedules caused severe disruption to staff during the summer holidays without any form of compen- sation being paid.

The threat comes as bus workers warn their services will be disrupted by rota changes (see box on left).

The union said members, who work on train services from the South Coast to London and across the South East, were presented with new rotas with little notice and without any consultation.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said the arrangements – set up while maintenance work was being carried out at London Bridge – were a “total shambles” despite having 18 months’ warning.

But Jane Lee, spokeswoman for the Go-Ahead Group which operates Southern, said it was working to resolve problems.

She said the rotas were altered at short notice, without giving unions adequate notice, as the company tried to give passengers the best possible service, but lessons had been learnt for the future.

She said: “Once the union alerted us to its concerns we worked hard to amend this where there were specific problems, and have financially compensated those who were most affected.”

Meanwhile, a bus driver claims that schedules coming into force on Sunday could disrupt services in Brighton and Hove.

The Brighton and Hove Bus Company employee said new rotas would mean drivers having to work on new routes would need a second “pilot” colleague.

The driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said if there were too many pilots it would cause even longer delays for customers.

He added: “We’re worried it’s a money-saving scheme that could result in job losses.”

Gary Cook, the bus company’s GMB union representative, said he was as equally concerned regarding the situation.

However, Martin Harris, managing director of the company, said no drivers were at risk of redundancy with the new rotas but there had been “internal structural changes” in the past 16 months to improve reliability and standards.

He said: “These are proving successful and we have worked closely with staff representatives. Some staff may not favour some aspects of the changes, but many do.”