Talks over conductors’ role break down again

Talk between the RMT and Southern have broken down
Talk between the RMT and Southern have broken down
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TALKS between Southern trains and rail union RMT have broken down after the company rejected a proposal to ensure a second conductor on all trains.

Govia Thameslink, the parent company of Southern trains, has been in talks with RMT over proposed change to the role of on-board conductors.

It wants to bring in driver-only operated services, which the RMT says is unsafe and could put jobs at risk.

A week of strike action was called to an end last week after talks resumed, however these ended yesterday without agreement.

Angie Doll, GTR passenger services director, said: ‘We have been talking to the union for nine months now and, despite several visits to Acas, the union won’t agree a deal.

‘Passengers will be rightly exasperated that the RMT won’t agree to what most fair-minded people would believe is an incredibly good offer.

‘We are guaranteeing jobs, pay and a second person on as many trains as we do today and also offered to work with the RMT to agree modern working practices to reduce cancellations and passenger disruption.

‘The RMT’s position does not help our passengers at all. We have guaranteed to have a second person on as many trains as today, but the union is rigidly refusing our offer to agree a list of exceptional circumstances when we would be able to run our trains without a second staff member on board, such as during disruption to still get people home.’

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the RMT had tabled a ‘reasonable and practical document that would have set the ground for resolving all aspects of the dispute without dilution of safety standards, would have addressed the needs of the business.’

He said: ‘We had a golden opportunity in these talks to make some serious progress on the core issue of a second person on the train who would have protected the safety of passengers, delivered customer service and ensured access to services for those with disabilities or needing assistance.

‘It’s a bitter blow that a firm set of union proposals that could have allowed us to move forward were rejected out of hand.’

The RMT executive met this afternoon to consider its next move.