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Southern Rail workers to stage fresh 24-hour walkout

PUBLISHED: 16:05 15 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:05 15 February 2017

Southern trains

Southern trains

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Drivers’ union Acas reached a deal with Southern earlier this month

Workers on Southern Railway are to stage a fresh strike in the long-running staffing dispute following the collapse of talks.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out for 24 hours on Wednesday February 22, threatening fresh misery for Southern’s 300,000 passengers.

The two sides met at the conciliation service Acas on Tuesday, but the row over the role of conductors remains deadlocked.

Leaders of the drivers’ union Aslef reached a deal with Southern’s owners Govia Thameslink Railway earlier this month in a separate row over driver-only trains, which its members have been voting on, with the result due on Thursday.

The deal was reached after 11 days of talks co-chaired by the TUC.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “The abject failure by Southern Rail in yesterday’s talks to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action.

“These disputes could have been settled if Southern had listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second safety-critical member of staff on their trains.

“Instead they have shifted the goal posts even further and have now created a ‘strike-breakers’ charter’ where one of the numerous new conditions where trains can run driver-only is during industrial action.

“That is simply scandalous and a measure of the betrayal of our members as a result of the TUC-brokered deal with Southern in the drivers’ dispute.

“The full detail of Southern’s plan is far worse than anyone could have anticipated. This is dire news, not just for staff, but for passengers who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service.

“RMT will not walk away from the fight for a railway that puts public safety before private profit.

“It is now down to Southern to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We are disappointed that the RMT is going to heap yet further misery and disruption on the travelling public. We aim to run as full a service as we can.”

Southern said it ran around three-quarters of its normal service during the last RMT strike in January.

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