England

Talks to resolve Southern rail row with RMT to continue

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

Talks between Southern rail and the RMT union, over a dispute about driver-only operated trains, have ended for the day and will reconvene on Tuesday.

The two sides began fresh talks earlier.

The year-long row is over Southern giving drivers responsibility for operating the doors, and changing the role of guards to on-board supervisors.

The rail firm, which is also in dispute with drivers' union Aslef, confirmed talks would be held Monday and Tuesday.

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

'No interference'

The RMT has taken 31 days of strike action over the proposed changes.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "The union welcomes the opportunity to engage with Southern rail in further talks.

"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."

Rail user groups urged all parties to reach agreement as soon as possible.

Shelley Atlas, who runs Brighton Line Commuters, said: "It's about time this was sorted. The situation has been like this since last April and that's a very long time for passengers to put up with it.

"There have been plenty of talks before but the end result hasn't happened.

"We know of one lady who lost the possibility of a job in London because of the strikes and another lost a house sale.

"But it doesn't just affect the passengers, it affects traders and businesses on the stations. People are very concerned."

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