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Southern trains & RMT union talks break down over changes to guard role on trains

Train conductors on strike earlier this week

Today's talks to avert further strike action by conductors on Southern trains who belong to the RMT union have broken down.

Conductors walked out on two days this week over plans to change the guard role - and to run driver only trains.

Steve Hedley, the Assistant General Secretary, of the RMT union told ITV Meridian that the managers of Southern had just walked out of the negotiations. He was interviewed by ITV Meridian Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse.

RMT union talks with Southern trains have broken down

Talks aimed at settling the guards dispute at Southern trains broke down a short time ago with the RMT union saying it would "escalate the dispute."

More strike days are expected to be called when the union executive meets next week.

The union say managers "stormed out of the talks" after failing to reach agreement.

The row centres on changes to the role of the guard.

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Southern train conductors to strike in April & May

Southern trains conductors are to strike

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has confirmed that it has instructed its members who are conductors on Southern trains not to book on for work between:

  • 11.00 hours on Tuesday 26th April 2016 until 10.59 hours on Wednesday 27th April 2016
  • 11.00 hours on Tuesday 10th May 2016 until 10.59 hours on Wednesday 11th May 2016
  • 11.00 hours on Thursday 12th May 2016 until 10.59 hours on Friday 13th May 2016.

The industrial action is over plans to introduce trains without conductors, otherwise called 'Driver Only Operation' (DDO) services. The union says that the move threatens its members jobs, working conditions and public safety. The call for strikes and other measures follows a union ballot.

Southern train conductors to stage 24-hour strikes

The rail operator wants to introduce conductor-less trains along its routes

Trains conductors working for Southern Rail are expected to hold a number of 24-hour strikes in a row over the introduction of driver-only trains.

The move follows a vote by RMT union members.

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Rail conductors vote to take industrial action over jobs

The RMT railworkers' union has said that conductors on Southern rail services have voted by massive majorities to take industrial action.

Southern services are operated by Govia Thameslink Railway. The ballot for a strike and for other non-strike action is over the introduction of Driver Only Operation (DOO) on trains. The union says that operating trains with just a driver - and without conductors - is a move that threatens jobs, conditions and public safety.

Walkout planned on Heathrow Express for 2 days at the end of April

Heathrow Express Credit: ITV news

The RMT union has confirmed strike action on the Heathrow Express over proposed cuts to services. Members have been told not to work between 03.00 hours on Tuesday 29th April until 02.59 hours on Thursday 1st May.

The Union fears jobs are under threat under plans to save £6 million over the next five years.

Union to stage protest over ferry worker wages

A protest will be held in Portsmouth later against working practices at Condor Ferries. The RMT Union says some workers from the Ukraine are paid £2.35 an hour. The union says that amounts to 'poverty wages'. However the ferry firm says it abides by employment law.

"Condor Ferries respects the right of RMT members to protest in a peaceful and nondisruptive manner.

"However, we do not agree with their point of view. Condor Ferries is a diligent and concerned employer and we take care that all our employees are trained to the highest standards, work in safe conditions and receive competitive wages.

"90% of our crew are from the EU and paid accordingly, however a small minority of crew who live aboard our conventional freight ferries are recruited from Ukraine - a highly regarded seafaring nation.

The rate of pay referred to only applies to 14 entry level crew members and we are concerned that the situation is being distorted for political reasons.

"The pay, terms and conditions for all employees meet or exceed all the requirements of international employment regulations and worker protection, and many crew members return to work year after year, in preference to other employment opportunities.

– Condor Ferries spokesperson