Southern passengers are facing yet another day of strike action on Tuesday next week after ACAS talks between the RMT and Govia failed to reach agreement.
The RMT has not yet officially announced the strike date, but sources have confirmed to Brighton and Hove News that its members working for Southern will join Scotrail conductors in walking out for 24 hours from midnight on Tuesday.
The row is over changes to the conductor role and the further introduction of driver-only trains, which the RMT says puts passenger safety at risk.
Meanwhile, a passenger protest against Govia keeping the franchise despite weeks of cancellations is set to take place at Brighton Station at 6.30pm this evening, with hundreds expected to take part – if their trains aren’t cancelled.
In a letter sent to members, the RMT said: “Talks at ACAS have now broken down. Rather than engage in meaningful negotiations, the company just raked over old ground and made veiled threats against the RMT and its members.
“It is now totally clear that management are unwilling to reach any kind of compromise with your union and only wish to press ahead with the extension of driver only operations.
“Make no mistake, these will result in permanent damage to the fabric of the railways in the south east of England and will take years and vast sums of taxpayers’ money to put right.
“After careful consideration, the union’s national executive committee has decided to call further industrial action. I have informed the company that we remain available for talks and I hope that management will see sense and take the necessary steps to resolve this dispute.
“Your determination and solidarity in this dispute can only be applauded.”
Govia says the RMT proposed keeping the conductor role as it is, but changing the role of the revenue protection officers, which Govia rejected as it said it would favour one group of employees over another.
Govia also says that driver-only trains already operate on 60% of the Govia network. It today said it is pushing ahead with changes to the conductor role, which will be implemented in August.
Govia’s chief operating officer Dyan Crowther said: “Despite six months of talks, the RMT gave us no practical plan to implement the new role at ACAS – instead we have this announcement of a totally unnecessary strike. We now have no option but to confirm the implementation of the new role.
“This new on-board role will keep people on trains, and re-focus their roles on assisting passengers. No-one is losing their job, and as many services will have someone on board as they do today.
“We know that many passengers are experiencing a poor service at the moment, that’s why we need to bring in these changes as quickly as possible.”
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