Members of the RMT held a dozen walkouts in 2016 over Govia Thameslink Railway’s plans to change the role of guards to on-board supervisors, with drivers opening and closing train doors.
Train drivers’ union ASLEF called off its strikes planned for this week to allow talks to resume, but a 24-hour strike by the RMT began this morning (Monday January 23) during which Southern is running a reduced timetable.
This morning Mick Cash, general secretary at the RMT, said: “RMT guards members on Southern Rail remain rock solid and absolutely determined in their action in defence of rail safety this morning. Their resilience is a credit to the entire trade union movement.
“These are local people fighting for safe railways for their local communities.”
He added: “The union repeats it’s demand for Chris Grayling [Transport Secretary] and the company to get out of their bunker, and give RMT and our guards members access to the same talks process that has been set up by the TUC for our sister union in the Southern drivers dispute.”
Angie Doll, Southern’s passenger services director, said: “The RMT is continuing with industrial action that is now pointless. Because of the changes we’ve now finished making we’re able to run 200 more services - a further 10% increase than previous RMT strike days - on more routes serving more passengers.
“Sadly, our passengers once again face disruption because of the RMT’s intransigence and refusal to suspend action and engage in meaningful talks. We remain ready and willing to meet for face to face talks to end their dispute and move forward to deliver a better railway for passengers.”
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