Now Southern rail is meeting the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union for talks after Aslef deal falls flat with drivers

Rebecca Smith
Southern is persevering with fresh talks with the union
Southern is persevering with fresh talks with the union (Source: Getty)

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

Southern rail's giving that a go at the moment anyway, as the train operator meets the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) today for fresh talks in the long-running row over the role of the guard.

It faced a fresh setback in its efforts to end the dispute with train drivers' union Aslef, as drivers rejected a new deal yesterday.

The RMT's general secretary Mick Cash said the union now expects "the fundamental issues at the heart of our guards' and drivers' disputes to be taken seriously".

Read more: Aslef drivers reject second Southern rail deal to bring dispute to a close

"There's an easy solution to this long running industrial dispute and Southern rail need to join with the unions in reaching an agreement that protects passengers and which recognises the safety critical issues our members have been fighting for over the past year," he added.

Andy Bindon, director at Southern's parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), said the Aslef result had been "hugely disappointing", particularly as the result had the support of Aslef leadership. The train operator and union will restart talks to find a new resolution.

"We have shown a willingness and desire to find a solution to their dispute and we will now, once again, sit down with the union, understand the issues which led to this regrettable decision by the drivers and try and find a way forward to resolving it," he said after the results of the Aslef referendum were announced.

Some 51.8 per cent of drivers voted to reject the deal, the second agreement reached by the union and the train operator. An earlier deal had also been rejected.

Passengers have suffered months of travel disruption as the dispute continued. Another strike date is planned by the RMT for Saturday, on the day of the Grand National.

There are also walkouts planned for Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North.

Read more: Grand National rail chaos: RMT strikes across three networks

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