RMT says its boss has been banned from today's Southern rail mediation talks (Southern says he wasn't invited)

 
Rebecca Smith
Mick Cash had planned to attend the talks
Mick Cash had planned to attend the talks (Source: Getty)

You know those conciliation talks arranged for today to broker an end to some of the misery suffered by Southern rail passengers?

Well, there's already a slight issue, at least according to the Rail, Maritime, Transport (RMT) union. The RMT boss has been barred from taking part in mediation talks that are going on in an effort to bring an end to the Southern rail chaos, according to the union.

Conciliation talks are going on today between train drivers' union Aslef and Southern rail at Acas.

“Southern Rail were fully aware last night that I would be attending the talks this morning at Acas alongside our Aslef colleagues," general secretary Mick Cash said. “This morning, on arrival for the talks, I was told that I would not allowed to take part by representatives from the company."

Read more: Southern rail strike chaos costs millions as 300,000 commuters stranded

He said the union was "furious at the complete contempt that has been shown to us by Southern rail this morning" and said it left members in "a state of limbo".

Southern today said Aslef, representing nearly 1,000 Southern drivers, was invited for talks yesterday. RMT, which it said represented 12 drivers, was not involved.

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern's parent company, said: "We hope today's talks with the Aslef leadership are productive.

I have spoken with the general secretary of the RMT this morning and informed him we'd be happy to meet him at Acas later today to talk about any new proposals he has to try and end the conductors' dispute.

And I also asked him to call off their programme of strikes planned for Christmas and New Year.

Read more: Southern rail commuters offered a Christmas windfall

Rail commuters were hit by the latest wave of travel chaos after striking train drivers brought the Southern network to a screeching halt for a 48-hour walkout starting yesterday over driver-only operated trains. A further 24-hour strike is planned for Friday.

Around 300,000 passengers travel on 2,242 services every weekday. There will be no trains on any route.

The RMT has been staging separate strikes over months due to changes to the role of the conductors, with more walkouts planned around Christmas.

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