England

Fresh talks in bid to resolve Southern rail row with RMT

Southern trains Image copyright PA
Image caption A series of strikes by the RMT began on 26 April last year

Fresh talks are to be held between the RMT union and Southern in a dispute that has affected rail passengers for nearly a year.

The union has been in dispute since last April over the introduction of driver-only operated trains.

On Saturday, the day of the Grand National, strike action by the RMT hit three rail companies.

Southern, which is also in dispute with the Aslef union, confirmed the talks would be held on 24 and 25 April.

A spokesman for the rail operator said: "We're pleased to be meeting the RMT later this month in a bid to try and find a route forward to end their dispute."

The RMT has taken 31 days of strike action over the changes being brought in, which mean conductors become on-board supervisors, and responsibility for opening and closing doors is passed to train drivers.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "The union welcomes the opportunity to engage with Southern rail in further talks. We would prefer the process to get under way sooner if that was possible.

"We expect there to be no efforts to undermine these important talks from other parties and that they will be allowed to take place free from external interference."

Aslef members rejected initial proposals to resolve the row in February, and this month voted against another proposed deal.

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