England

Southern rail strike: Govia 'refusing to talk' says RMT

Southern train Image copyright PA
Image caption The dispute is over a new on-board supervisor role and plans for drivers to operate doors

Southern rail conductors due to stage a 24-hour strike in the South East have accused operator Govia Thameslink of refusing to take part in talks.

The RMT union said it had made strenuous efforts to get negotiations under way but the company had "point blank refused".

The strike, which is part of a dispute over the role of guards, is due to start at 00:01 BST on Wednesday

Govia Thameslink said it was open to talks and the strike was unnecessary.

The union, which also went on strike in April, opposes a new on-board supervisor role and plans for drivers to operate doors.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Despite strenuous efforts from the union to get genuine and meaningful talks under way with Southern on the issues of jobs and safety, the company has point-blank refused and has instead resorted to a campaign of threats and intimidation against staff."

Union members are due to hold a protest outside this year's Department for Transport Rail Industry Day in London on Wednesday.

'Pressing ahead'

A statement from Govia Thameslink said: "We remain open for talks but the union refuses to entertain the idea of our evolved conductor role and has encouraged members not to take part in the process.

"However, we are pressing ahead with our plans to evolve the conductor role and doing everything we can to ensure our staff are fully involved in the process."

The company said there would be no job losses or pay cuts.

Southern said the action would have a "significant effect" on services all day, with no service on many routes and only a limited service between approximately 07:30 and 18:00 on others.

It warned passengers: "Queuing systems will be in place at many stations that are open so you may have a long wait before you are able to board a train. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee to get you to your destination."

The company said Gatwick Express and Thameslink services would be largely unaffected but some services were expected to be extremely busy and some Gatwick Express trains would be unable to call at certain stations.

Passengers can check Southern's live running page, a map of services during the strike and customer information.

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