The operators of Southern Rail have told the main rail union, the RMT - unless they settle the dispute and accept the deal on offer, workers will be sacked.
Govia Thameslink say the union must agree and call off the strikes by Thursday, or they will have no choice. They say the dispute has brought misery for hundreds of thousands of passengers, and this ultimatum is all that's left to them.
But the RMT says the changes would threaten safety and security, and are adamant they won't give way. Here's Andy Dickenson with today's dramatic development.
RMT bosses have responded to GTR's take-it-or-leave-it deadline, set in a bid to end its ongoing industrial dispute.
GTR has offered a £2,000 payment to conductors once the dispute is settled. It also guarantees jobs until 2021. Staff have until midday on Thursday to agree - or lose their jobs.
Mick Lynch, RMT Union, says the union will reject the offer, because the dispute is "purely about safety and not about money":
The operators of Southern Rail have issued the RMT union with an ultimatum - conductors must take a £2,000 settlement or face losing their job.
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) says the union must agree on a deal to call off the rail strikes by Thursday. GTR bosses say they have set out a fair and clear plan to settle the 10 month dispute over the role of conductors. The RMT says the changes would threaten safety and security.
GTR's 8-point offer includes guarantees on conductors’ jobs until 2021, the life of GTR's franchise agreement, above-inflation pay increases for the next two years and guaranteed levels of overtime.
GTR have warned the union that if the offer is not accepted by Thursday's deadline, it will "regretfully proceed without the RMT's involvement" and serve notice letters to conductors affected, terminating their existing contracts and inviting them to sign up to the new OBS role to be effective from January 1st. The company also warns that the offer - including the £2,000 lump sum payment - may be rescinded after the deadline.
The rail union, RMT, have confirmed a series of strikes in the row over the role of guard on Southern rail trains.
Union bosses say Southern Rail is insistent on removing the safety-trained guards from the trains. It's a critical role that the RMT and disability campaigners say must stay.
The RMT describes the company's decision as a "blatant disregard for the safety and security of passengers and staff alike", leaving it with no alternative but to declare [strike] action"
These strikes are scheduled to take place:
- 00.01 on Tuesday 11th October and 23.59 on Thursday 13th October
- 00.01 on Tuesday 18th October and 23.59 on Thursday 20th October
- 00.01 on Thursday 3rd November and 23.59 on Saturday 5th November
- 00.01 on Tuesday 22nd November and 23.59 on Wednesday 23rd November
- 00.01 on Tuesday 6th December and 23.59 on Thursday 8th December
Here is the RMT's full statement:
An East Sussex MP has accused the government of 'ploughing subsidies into a failing private company' after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced £20m of government funding for Southern Rail.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, commented about the funding, which is part of a package of measures announced today to improve Southern's performance after months of cancellations and delays.
After months of delays, strikes and misery for passengers, the government has announced a £20m fund to improve Southern Rail services.
The money - from Network Rail - will go towards hiring extra staff at key stations and the faster replacement of worn track. The Department for Transport has demanded rapid improvements and have created a new project Board to oversee the developments. It will be headed by former chief operating officer of Virgin Rail Group, Chris Gibb, who has more than 35 years experience of working in key leadership roles in the rail industry.
The Department for Transport say the key additional benefits of the £20m include:
- £2m to be spent on more rapid response teams to fix faults more quickly, located close to known hotspots;
- £2.5m to be spent on accelerated train maintenance;
- £0.8m investment in extra signal supervisors to keep trains moving across the network;
- £0.9m investment in a series of measures to minimise the impact of bridge strikes.
Rail passengers will face more travel chaos as Southern Railway announce a new 48-hour strike.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union say its members will walk out on 7th and 8th September. It's over the long-running row over the role of guards on trains, changes which were imposed from Sunday.
The strikes will come on top of months of disruption to Southern's services because of industrial action and staff shortages.
Passengers have staged demonstrations to protest the level of services.
The company which owns under fire Southern Rail has asked ACAS for fresh talks to try to resolve the on-going industrial dispute.
Govia Thameslink is calling on the union to call off it's five day strike by conductors due to start next month.
Rail passengers who use Southern and Thameslink services are facing more misery after the rail Union RMT decided to ballot hundreds of ticket office staff for strike action.
The union says GTR, which owns the companies, wants to close ticket offices and cut 130 jobs.
The new action is on top of the chaos being caused by an on-going dispute over the roll of guards.
Under the plan new roles of Station Hosts will be created that will see staff removed from ticket offices and sent onto platforms to assist passengers and sell tickets.
GTR insists it is the best use of staff time and will improve services for passengers.