More talks called a year into Southern dispute

SUS-160712-111231001
SUS-160712-111231001

Talks to end a dispute between rail bosses and Southern staff have been called for later this month, almost a year since the first strike action was held.

The RMT union has opposed Govia Thameslink Railway’s plans to introduce driver-only operation on Southern services, which is where drivers are responsible for opening and closing train doors.

Staff have raised safety concerns about the potential loss of a safety critical member of staff on services, with RMT members being transferred from the role of conductors to on-board supervisors.

The union has organised walkouts totalling a month, with the first strike in the dispute held on April 26, 2016.

Today the RMT confirmed it will be holding further talks with Southern bosses on Monday April 24 and Tuesday April 25.

Mick Cash, general secretary at the RMT, said: “The union welcomes the opportunity to engage with Southern Rail in further talks. We would prefer the process to get underway sooner if that was possible.

“We expect there to be no efforts to undermine these important talks from other parties and that they will be allowed to take place free from external interference.”

Members of train drivers’ union ASLEF have rejected the last two deals negotiated by their union’s leadership with GTR bosses.

During the last day of strike action held by the RMT on Saturday (April 8), Southern said it ran 95 per cent of services.

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