Southern Rail strike: RMT offers to suspend industrial action if it gets what it wants

James Nickerson
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Cash said he is calling for talks to get underway (Source: Getty)

The union striking on Southern Rail has offered to suspend its action - if it gets what it wants.

The RMT union repeated offer to suspend Southern strike action around principles of ScotRail proposals and calls for urgent talks today.

The union offered to suspend strikes on last Friday, but only if Southern meet the same conditions.

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RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said; "I have written to Charles Horton today calling for talks to get back underway immediately in the Southern guards dispute.

"The union believes that there is a deal to be done based around the ScotRail principles and that we need to pick up on the progress that was being made when the talks broke down on Friday afternoon.

"It is in no one's interests to prolong this dispute when the framework that can take us forward has been so clearly laid out."

Read more: Theresa May has blasted Southern Rail strikers for heaping fresh misery on commuters

Cash's letter stated that there are four elements to the offer:

  • Scotrail guaranteed a conductor on every train.
  • Scotrail guaranteed that the conductor will retain their full competency (rules, track safety, evacuation).
  • Scotrail confirmed that trains operating these services will not run without a competent conductor on board.
  • These proposals, including the above guarantees, are subject to Scotrail and the RMT entering into discussion about, and agreeing to, a method of train dispatch for these services. Once this proposal and the method of dispatch are agreed it will be adopted for the Abellio Scotrail franchise and will apply beyond.

Thousands of commuters' journeys were disrupted yesterday as a five-day strike called by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) hit Southern rail which serves London Bridge and Victoria. Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the strike, saying: "It’s only going to cause more disruption and misery for passengers."

The decision by Southern to transfer control of doors to the driver – a concept familiar to millions of London Underground commuters – triggered the long-running dispute, which has seen staff-sickness levels soar. Controversially, only 393 guards were balloted on the strike action.