More Southern rail strikes called

A Southern Rail train
A Southern Rail train

Another two days of Southern rail strikes have been called in a dispute over driver-only trains.

The RMT union has been fighting the further extension of driver-only operation on the Southern network by Govia Thameslink Railway since April 2016.

The changes make drivers responsible for opening and closing train doors, with the RMT raising safety and access concerns.

The union has instructed its members not to book any shifts on both Tuesday October 3 and Thursday October 5.

Mick Cash, general secretary at the RMT, said: “RMT is bitterly disappointed that Southern Rail and the DFT continue to reject our call for round table discussions involving all parties with an interest in resolving this dispute.

“The failure to get those talks moving following our face to face meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has left us no option but to call further action.

“RMT pays tribute to our Southern Rail guards and drivers who have stood firm for 18 months in the fight for rail safety.”

He added: “They are a credit to their communities and to the whole trade union movement as they continue to take action for safety in Britain’s longest running industrial dispute.

“RMT has a clear plan for resolving this dispute but that requires round table talks now to push forwards.

“This fiasco cannot be allowed to drag on any longer.

“The union stands ready and waiting for genuine and meaningful talks with all parties and we are pressing Mr Grayling to get his contractors into line as a matter of urgency.”

More to follow.