RMT turns down 'bribe' from Southern as next three-day strike goes ahead

Rebecca Smith
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RMT pPicket line at Brighton station in Southern safety dispute
RMT pPicket line at Brighton station in Southern safety dispute (Source: RMT)

Southern’s latest attempt to bring an end to ongoing strike action has been promptly rebuffed by the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT).

Southern’s last roll of the dice before train guards walk out on another three-day strike at midnight, was putting a lump sum of £2,000 back on the table earlier today.

Southern owner Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) called on the union to suspend strikes over the ongoing dispute concerning the role of the guard. It wanted the RMT to hold a referendum of its members to allow them to decide for themselves whether they wanted to accept its eight-point offer plus £2,000 lump sum per person.

Read more: Southern Rail commuters had very British responses to today's train chaos

GTR’s chief executive Charles Horton said: “There have been significant developments since the union tabled the original ballot to conductors over six months ago. In order to move things forward, I am asking the union to let conductors – the people at the heart of this matter – determine whether this dispute comes to an end or continues. Nearly a third of conductors are now coming into work on strike days and we expect that to increase.”

Govia said over 27 per cent of those rostered to work turned up during last week’s strike; up on the 16.5 per cent who turned up during the 18 May strike earlier in the year.

However, the RMT quickly dismissed the latest letter from Govia’s chief executive Charles Horton, calling it a bribe to staff “to sell-out passenger safety”.

“This latest letter from Charles Horton does not move this dispute on a single inch,” said RMT’s general secretary Mick Cash. “There is no offer whatsoever to start engaging in serious talks about the safety and access issues at the heart of this matter. Instead, Southern have rehashed the £2,000 bribe to our members even though the company has been told repeatedly that money is not the issue and that the safety of passengers and staff is not for sale.”

Upcoming strike dates:

  • 00:01 Tuesday 18 October to 23:59 Thursday 20 October
  • 00:01 Thursday 3 November to 23:59 Saturday 5 November
  • 00:01 Thursday 3 November to 23:59 Saturday 5 November
  • 00:01 Tuesday 6 December to 23:59 Thursday 8 December

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