RMT urges transport secretary to intervene in Southern row


Southern Rail trainImage copyright
PA

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The RMT said Mr Grayling needs to call a meeting

A rail workers’ union has called for “urgent intervention” by the transport secretary to help resolve the Southern Rail dispute.

The RMT has written to Chris Grayling urging him to convene talks with all sides in the 16-month-long row over staffing and driver-only trains.

Union leaders met Southern bosses this week, but the talks “stalled”.

The RMT had “frank talks” with Mr Grayling in July but said all parties must get “everything on the table”.

Southern’s parent firm, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) had said the RMT did not bring any new proposals to Monday’s meeting and were unwilling to explore offers the company has made to settle the dispute.

In a message, human resources director Andy Bindon wrote: “No agreements could be reached and no further talks are currently planned with the RMT.”

Image copyright
EPA

But RMT leader Mick Cash accused the firm of “deliberately misrepresenting” the union’s position, adding: “It was the company that knocked back our proposals flat and it is the company that are now selling the message that as far as they are concerned the talks process is over.

“It is crystal clear now that the only way forward is to get all parties around the table – the unions, the company and the Department for Transport as the contract-holders – with everything on that table and with a clear will on all sides to resolve the dispute.

“Chris Grayling is in a position where he can broker those round-table talks and he needs to do so as a matter of urgency.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “We are doing everything we can to resolve the situation on Southern and get passengers the high quality rail services that they deserve.

“We held constructive meetings with both Aslef and the RMT unions, which paved the way for GTR and the unions to restart their negotiations.

“We hope their discussions can bring an end to this dispute.”



Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-40877740

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