'˜Snubbed' Southern train drivers start latest strike

'˜Snubbed' Southern train drivers represented by the RMT union have picketed stations and depots this morning (Tuesday January 24).

Picket by RMT members outside Brighton station (photo submitted).
Picket by RMT members outside Brighton station (photo submitted).

Train drivers’ union ASLEF called off its strike action planned for this week to allow for fresh talks to resume with Govia Thameslink Railway over its plans to introduce driver-only operation on Southern services.

The RMT, which represents conductors who are being transferred to the role of on-board supervisors, held its latest walkout yesterday (Monday).

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However the RMT also represents some Southern train drivers and has gone ahead with strike action today (Tuesday), tomorrow and Friday after it was excluded from these negotiations.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “RMT is a recognised union for drivers on Southern and it is disgraceful that we have been carved out of the current talks process set up by the TUC and the Government. That is a kick in the teeth for our members.

“RMT has repeatedly requested access to the talks process involving the TUC, the employers and our sister union but we have been roundly snubbed and our Executive Committee find that wholly unacceptable.

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

A spokesman for Southern said: “The talks that are now taking place under the auspices of the TUC are as a result of a suggestion by ASLEF, which we welcomed and accepted in order to find a way to end their drivers’ dispute.

“As we have stated, we are happy to have formal talks with the RMT too when they’re ready to do so, and lines of communication with them are open.”

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