RMT meets South Western Railway and Northern for talks in bid to stave off another wave of strikes

Rebecca Smith
The RMT said talks with Southern have gone off track
The RMT said talks with Southern have gone off track (Source: Getty)

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will meet South Western Railway and Northern today for last-ditch talks aimed at staving off further strike action in a bitter row over the role of the guard.

Strike action was set for a batch of train operators over the festive period, and the RMT has more planned for next week, starting from Monday.

A series of strikes are planned for South Western Railway, Northern, as well as Southern, Merseyrail and Greater Anglia.

Read more: Mass rail misery for the New Year as RMT announces wave of fresh strikes

January strike dates

Members on Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway and the Isle of Wight's Island Line have been instructed to walk out between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on the 8, 10 and 12 January 2018

Members on Southern have been instructed to strike between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on the 8 January 2018

SWR has previously said it has "repeatedly assured" the RMT that it plans to keep guards on the trains.

Northern, meanwhile, has said it is "still prepared to guarantee jobs and pay for conductors" for the rest of its franchise to 2025, if an agreement can be reached on how staff can "deliver better customer service using those fantastic new facilities".

The union said it also wants talks with Merseyrail and Greater Anglia in its respective disputes with them, but said efforts to address its long-running dispute with Southern rail have gone off track again. The train operator has however resolved its row with train drivers' union Aslef over the issue.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT will enter the talks with South Western Railway and Northern rail in good faith and seeking an agreement which guarantees a guard on their trains and protects the safety, security and access of the travelling public. If we can secure that kind of agreement in Scotland and Wales there is no reason at all why we can't do the same in England."

Read more: Southern rail saga: Drivers accept deal to bring bitter row to a close

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