Southern rail and RMT fail to reach dispute deal

Southern train Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The strike led to the cancellation of thousands of services

Union and rail bosses have failed to reach an agreement in a dispute over the role of train guards on the Southern rail network.

Rail operator Govia Thameslink (GTR) said talks with the RMT at conciliation service Acas had ended without reaching a deal.

The union said its proposals were "rejected out of hand".

Members staged a strike last week which led to the cancellation of thousands of services.

GTR passenger services director Angie Doll said the union would not agree a deal.

The RMT is fighting plans by GTR to turn conductors into "on-board supervisors" from 21 August, with drivers taking over responsibility for opening and closing carriage doors.

The union wants to ensure there will be a second person on the train for safety reasons, including assisting the disabled and elderly.

Image copyright AP
Image caption A five-day strike was called off halfway through

'Crucial flexibility'

Ms Doll said: "We have guaranteed to have a second person on as many trains as today, but the union is rigidly refusing our offer to agree a list of exceptional circumstances when we would be able to run our trains without a second staff member on board, such as during disruption."

She said: "This would create the crucial flexibility we need."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the union tabled proposals that would have set the grounds for resolving the dispute.

He said: "This would have addressed all of the company's concerns but GTR made it clear that they did not want to ensure the presence of the second person."

He said the RMT executive was meeting later to consider the next move.

Image caption Commuters have staged protests about disruption and strikes

An Acas spokesman said: "Acas conciliation talks have ended without the sides reaching agreement. There are no further talks planned but our services remain available."

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