BREAKING NEWS: Southern staff call fresh strike

Southern train PPP-160519-120213001
Southern train PPP-160519-120213001

Southern staff have called fresh strike action over the introduction of driver-only operation.

The RMT union, which represents guards being transferred to on-board supervisors as part of the changes by rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway, has organised numerous walkouts since April 2016.

The 24-hour walkout will take place on Tuesday April 4 while the union continues to press the company for a firm date for talks over the future role of guards.

According to the RMT it would reconsider calling the strike to allow for talks to take place.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: “RMT members on Southern Rail have been fighting for safety and access for nearly a year now and it is disgraceful that we have continued to be carved out of the talks process.

“That is a kick in the teeth for our members. This dispute needs to be pushed forwards and RMT would be prepared to reconsider our action if we get a commitment to a firm date for genuine and meaningful talks.

“All parties should be at the negotiating table and RMT’s continued exclusion means we have no option but to press ahead with further industrial action.”

“It is now down to Southern/GTR, and the contract holders in the Government, to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”

Train drivers’ union ASLEF agreed a fresh deal with GTR earlier this week and will now ballot its members on the fresh deal.

A previous agreement negotiated by the union’s leadership was rejected by the majority of its members.

A Southern spokesman said: “We’ve not received any correspondence from the RMT on this matter. When we do we’ll review it and respond.

“In the meantime, they have announced a new strike date and we’ll plan accordingly if it goes ahead. We’ve been able to run over 90% of our trains for our passengers on recent RMT strike days and we will plan to run a comprehensive service again.”

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