England

Southern RMT guards announce new strike date

Southern trains Image copyright PA
Image caption The GTR pay offer would have taken a driver's base salary from £49,001 to £60,683

Guards on Southern rail are to walk out on 1 August to coincide with the first day of a strike by train drivers.

The RMT guards will walk out as part of their dispute over the role of train staff.

Aslef drivers have called strikes on Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2 and Friday 4 August in their separate pay dispute.

Both unions have urged the transport secretary Chris Grayling to meet them for talks, following a meeting with Eastbourne Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd.

The BBC has contacted the Department for Transport for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

Aslef and the RMT union have been involved in dispute with Southern's parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) over plans to replace conductors with "on-board supervisors", with extra responsibilities including the closing of train doors switching to the drivers.

The drivers' union is operating an overtime ban in the bitter long-running action.

'No more posturing'

Mr Lloyd has met with both unions at Westminster after individual talks between each union and Southern broke down.

He said after 16 months of disruption the South East was reaching a point of "absolute crisis".

"Now is the time for no more posturing and no more of the government trying to divide and rule," he said.

Image caption Mick Cash, Stephen Lloyd and Mick Whelan met at Westminster

Both unions have urged Mr Grayling to negotiate directly with them to end the dispute.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said the dispute "could go on for an awful long time".

Mick Cash, the RMT's general secretary said his members were also prepared to "continue the fight".

He said: "We have been trying for some time now to talk to Chris Grayling.

"The opportunity to resolve this dispute is in his hands."

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