A train operator's attempt to gain Twitter users' support in a trade union dispute backfired when it sparked a backlash from commuters.
Southern Railway faces four days of strike action in five blocks from next month. This latest wave of action comes after a series of walkouts by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) over
recent months in protest over changes to the role of conductors at Southern, which is owned by Govia Thameslink Railway.
The operator asked its followers to send messages to the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) to "tell them how rail strikes make you feel" as part of a long-running row over the role of conductors.
But the tweet, containing an image headlined "Let's Strike Back", drew fire from users early on Monday morning.
Southern's tweet from its official @SouthernRailUK account said: Time to get back on track. Tweet @RMTunion & tell them how rail strikes make you feel".
It included a picture which read: "Let's Strike Back. The RMT won't listen to us. But they may listen to you.
"Tweet @RMTUnion to tell them how you feel, and help us get #southernbackontrack".
However, the replies to the tweet were less than enthusiastic, criticising Southern Rail over how it is handling the dispute and its service in general.
User Matt Woosie wrote: "I'd rather be delayed by a strike than your company's inability to hire enough staff."
Simon Cox posted: "You are kidding? I dislike unions but I dislike incompetent management more. You provide the service - get on with it."
Martin Cox said: "You brought this on yourselves. We, your customers are suffering. Let's be radical. Employ more staff."
Nik Fletcher said: "My connecting train home has been cancelled every day under revised timetable. And now you expect me to advocate for you?"
Ellie Awford wrote: "I assumed there was a @RMTunion strike this morning - but no, just the standard poorly run service #SouthernBackOnTrack #southernfail."
The strikes will start on October 11 and will be held intermittently until December 8.