Southern rail strike saga continues: The RMT union announces a new 24-hour walkout for 4 April

Rebecca Smith
The rail network has suffered months of disruption
The rail network has suffered months of disruption (Source: Getty)

The RMT union has announced another 24-hour strike on Southern rail for Tuesday 4 April, in a row over the role of conductors.

Mick Cash, RMT's general secretary, said: “RMT members on Southern Rail have been fighting for safety and access for nearly a year now and it is disgraceful that we have continued to be carved out of the talks process. That is a kick in the teeth for our members. This dispute needs to be pushed forwards and RMT would be prepared to reconsider our action if we get a commitment to a firm date for genuine and meaningful talks."

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A Southern spokesperson said: "We've not received any correspondence from the RMT on this matter. When we do we'll review it and respond. In the meantime, they have announced a new strike date and we'll plan accordingly if it goes ahead. We've been able to run over 90 per cent of our trains for our passengers on recent RMT strike days and we will plan to run a comprehensive service again."

The union remains in dispute with the train operator over changes to the role of the guard on the train, while train drivers' union Aslef recently agreed a new deal with Southern in its row over the issue.

They had previously reached a deal, but it was rejected by members. Both Aslef and Southern have said they won't comment further on the fresh agreement until the outcome of the members' referendum is announced on 3 April.

The RMT has since criticised the agreement as being the old deal "in a new envelope", saying union members wouldn't be "hoodwinked".

The row has spread to other train operators too: earlier this week the RMT held strikes across Southern, Northern and Merseyrail, after the union said they failed to provide "cast-iron" assurances over the future of the guard.

Read more: The RMT slams fresh Southern agreement as "the old deal in a new envelope"

Southern has taken a more hard line stance against the union over the past couple of months. For this week's strike it said it ran over 90 per cent of services, though the RMT disputes the figures.

And last month, the train operator called the union's walkouts "increasingly impotent and ineffective".

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