Community News

Rail Union issue message of support to Brighton Pride and will march on Pride Parade to show solidarity

Besi Besemar August 6, 2016

Action by Southern trains could damage Brighton Pride’s fundraising efforts this weekend.


The RTM Union have reacted furiously to a press release issued yesterday by Southern trains warning visitors travelling to Brighton Pride on Saturday, August 6, to find other means of transport to the city because of an on-going industrial dispute.

Paul Wyborn
Paul Wyborn

Southern’s Brighton Area Manager, Paul Wyborn said: ‘‘The industrial action and the dispute with the RMT is continuing to cause misery to people’s lives. For our part, we’re sorry that we are unable to provide a full service that meets our passengers’ expectations. We’ll do the best we can with the resources we have available but the trains that do run will be exceptionally busy.  That’s why we are regrettably advising people to try and find another way of getting in and out of Brighton to beat the crowds and unavoidable queues.”

Mick Cash

A furious Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT union, responded: “The RMT made the decision not to take industrial action this weekend so that we could fully support Brighton Pride. If Southern are advising the public not to travel by train because they cannot provide a service that meets passengers’ expectations, please know it is due to Southern’s incompetence and poor management and has nothing to do with the RMT. It really is simply wrong for Southern to put people off from attending Brighton Pride by train and blame their staff for an inadequate service.”

Mr Cash had previously assured Pride organisers by email, saying: “I am pleased to advise you that as ever RMT will be fully supporting this event and as usual our Brighton and Hove Branch has invited all our members and their families to support Pride.

We think this is a massively important event to show solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters.

RMT has been proud to support Pride for a number of years and please accept our best wishes and solidarity for what I am sure will be another wonderful and successful occasion.”

In the last few weeks, Pride have engaged in several meeting with Southern, Sussex Police and other agencies, and received assurances that if anything changed all partners would be consulted before any announcements were released to the media. Southern trains issued their statement without partners being able to respond.

Pride continues to engage in dialogue to ensure the best possible train service to Brighton over the weekend.

Last month, Yvonne Leslie, Stakeholder Manager at GTR (Southern trains) sent an email to a Hove resident saying: “We are working with organisers and other agencies to support the Pride event on August 6-7 and to implement the special timetable. This includes additional and longer services where possible. I should note that there is engineering work taking place at London Bridge which means no services will operate between London Bridge and New Cross Gate on either day, therefore an amended timetable will operate.”

Fortunately Southern Rail are not the only rail operator running trains into Brighton. Thameslink trains run at least twice hourly from London’s St Pancras and Blackfriars stations, National Express run regular coaches from London Victoria and Gatwick Express trains are running normally from London Victoria.

Chris Hudson, Media Relations Manager at Govia Thameslink Railway, says: “We continue to fully support Pride and are making all possible endeavours to deliver the best possible service for Pride visitors.”

Brighton Pride is a CIC Company raising funds for the LGBT Communities in Brighton and Hove. £1 a head from every ticket sold is donated to the Rainbow Fund who make grants through an independent grants panel, to LGBT/HIV organisations providing effective front line services to LGBT people in the city. Last year Brighton Pride donated £100,000 to benefit local good causes.

To check up to date rail information on the day, click here:

Brighton Pride this year is headlined by 70s legends Sister Sledge who will be joined by global superstar Carly Rae Jepson, Frankmusik, The 2 Bears and X Factor stars, Fleur East and Seann Miley Moore.

To purchase tickets for Brighton Pride 2016 online, click here: