Rail union makes a bid to end deadlocked dispute

A RAIL union involved in a bitter row over the role of conductors has offered to suspend industrial action for three months in a bid to break the deadlocked dispute.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union made the offer to Southern Railway, but only if the rail operator pulled back from making the changes.

Southern services, which run through Portsmouth, Havant and Fareham, have been disrupted for weeks because of industrial action.

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The company is cancelling 341 trains a day from next week as a temporary measure.

Southern’s owner, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), has apologised to passengers for the disruption.

In an open letter to GTR chief executive Charles Horton, RMT leader Mick Cash said: ‘The RMT will suspend calling any further industrial for the next three months if you will also suspend your proposals for a similar period. This will then allow us the time and space to sit down together and try and explore options that will seek to deliver the lasting improvements to service and reliability we all want.’

A spokesman for GTR welcomed the suggested suspension of strikes, but said three months was not needed to resolve the dispute.