England

Southern trains 'to be cancelled without guard'

Southern trains Image copyright PA
Image caption The bitter dispute has affected Southern rail passengers for over a year

Southern rail has confirmed trains will be cancelled on all lines apart from the Brighton mainline if a second member of staff is not onboard.

Southern said it had made a temporary agreement with the drivers' union Aslef while talks take place.

He said the move was in return for Aslef suspending an overtime ban which had been due to begin on Sunday.

During the year-long dispute Aslef has argued there should be a second "safety-critical" person on trains.

The drivers' union has been in the dispute with Southern and its parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) over the roles of train staff.

GTR replaced conductors with "on-board supervisors" to work across different services but without the responsibility of closing doors - which has switched to train drivers.


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The Southern spokesman said: "We have accepted that, for this temporary period, we will run trains only if there is a second person onboard when operating off the Brighton mainline.

"Even though those on board staff will not be closing train doors, we will have to cancel services if they are not available.

"We made a temporary agreement with Aslef that allowed them to suspend their action and give further talks every chance of success - we want an end to this once and for all for our passengers."

He said the agreement did not apply to Southern metro services which already operated without a conductor.

On Thursday Aslef announced the suspension of its planned overtime ban for two weeks while talks take place.

Mick Whelan, Aslef's general secretary, said: "The company has indicated that it is prepared to negotiate with us on a range of outstanding issues and, therefore, we have suspended our overtime ban.

"We now have a fortnight to try and find a resolution."

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