Southern Rail workers to strike again over safety dispute

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  • Southern Rail guards and drivers to strike again on March 13
  • Union calls on operator to ‘take safety issues seriously’
  • Southern Rail says latest industrial action is ‘disappointing’
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Guards and drivers on Southern Rail have announced they will strike again in March as part of an ongoing safety dispute.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union will walk out for 24 hours on March 13.

We now have the best part of two weeks before the next phase of action for the company to take the issues at the core of this dispute seriously, get round the table with the union and negotiate a settlement.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash

Both sides have been embroiled in a bitter dispute for months over plans by Southern Rail to remove guards from trains and introduce driver-only operation.

The latest industrial action comes after talks broke down between the union and Southern Rail’s owners Govia Thameslink.

The strike will last from 00.01am to 11.59pm.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘The abject failure by Southern Rail to meet with us, to clarify their exact position on the second safety-critical member of staff and to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action.

‘These disputes could have been settled if Southern/GTR had sat down and listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.

‘We now have the best part of two weeks before the next phase of action for the company to take the issues at the core of this dispute seriously, get round the table with the union and negotiate a settlement.

‘It is now down to Southern/GTR to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address the fundamental issue of rail safety on their services. RMT expects the company to take up that offer from the union as a matter of urgency.’

A Southern spokesperson said the news of the latest strike was ‘clearly disappointing.’

They added: ‘We asked the RMT executive to suspend any further action when they met today so that talks could take place, instead they have chosen to put their members through even more pointless industrial action.

‘They say they want to talk, but they are hell-bent on further strike misery and causing disruption and hardship to people’s everyday work and family lives.’

The rail operator said they hope to match the 87 per cent of services which ran on the last RMT strike day earlier this month.