RMT union calls for round table talks on Southern rail dispute after discussions stall

Courtney Goldsmith
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RMT says a round table discussion is the only way for the groups to come to an agreement (Source: Getty)

Talks between the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and Southern rail's parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have "stalled" after the groups failed to come to an agreement this afternoon.

This prompted RMT general secretary Mick Cash to call for a round table discussion involving all parties looking for a solution to the long-running dispute over driver only trains, including the train drivers' union Aslef.

Cash said it was clear that failing to get all parties around the table at the same time was a "major blockage" to making progress.

Read more: Unions suspend Southern rail summer strikes for talks with Chris Grayling

Cash said:

RMT is proposing that we try to break the deadlock by getting both unions, the DfT [Department for Transport] and the company involved in round table discussions with everything on that table. Meeting in different rooms at different times simply isn’t working.

The union will take its proposal for fresh talks to transport secretary Chris Grayling with a request that his team, as the contract holders, broker the talks at the earliest possible date.

"This dispute can be resolved, we have no doubt about that, and the fresh approach we have outlined today will allow us to kick start the talks process.”

However, a spokesperson for GTR said RMT did not present any new proposals during today's talks.

"Modernisation is urgently required to future-proof our railway. Alongside investment in better infrastructure and new trains, this includes transforming working practices," the spokesperson said.

"We hope the RMT will get on board with these essential improvements to give our passengers the service they deserve."

Read more: The RMT wants fresh meetings with a raft of train firms to avoid strikes

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