'˜Constructive' talks held to end Southern rail dispute

'˜Constructive' talks between the Government's Transport Secretary and union bosses to end the Southern rail dispute took place today (Thursday July 20).

Southern train SUS-160219-155325001
Southern train SUS-160219-155325001

Both ASLEF and the RMT unions have suspended industrial action planned for the first week of August after accepting an offer of fresh talks made by Chris Grayling.

The unions have been locked in a dispute with Govia Thameslink Railway over plans to extend driver-only operation to Southern services since last year.

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The changes involve drivers being made responsible for opening and closing train doors, with guards being transferred to the roles of on-board supervisors.

Meanwhile ASLEF is also in the middle of a dispute over pay.

Talks were aimed at resuming negotiations between the rail operator and unions to end the dispute.

After today’s talks Mr Grayling said: “We’re doing everything we can to resolve the situation on Southern and get passengers the high quality rail services that they deserve.

“I was pleased to have a constructive meeting with ASLEF today and I hope it paves the way for the reopening of negotiations between the union and Southern so we can sort out this situation and get services back to normal for passengers.”

A spokesman for ASLEF said: “ASLEF held proactive talks today with the Secretary of State for Transport about the Southern Rail dispute. Further talks are planned with both the company and then the Minister.”