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RMT on ASLEF's decision: It reflects the deep seated concern amongst drivers

Train drivers at Southern have again rejected a deal for a Driver Only Operation.

The RMT has released a statement following ASLEF members' decision.

This ballot was entirely a matter for ASLEF and its members. However, the result reflects the continuing and deep seated concern amongst drivers and the wider workforce over the extension of DOO and the safety impact on passenger services.

Southern Rail cannot jam their heads in the sand any longer. We are in talks with the company tomorrow and we now expect the fundamental issues at the heart of our guards' and drivers' disputes to be taken seriously.

There's an easy solution to this long running industrial dispute and Southern Rail need to join with the unions in reaching an agreement that protects passengers and which recognises the safety critical issues our members have been fighting for over the past year."

– Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT

Business leaders to protest over Southern rail row

Industrial action to take place again this week

Business leaders in the Sussex town of Eastbourne are expected to hold a protest today over the disruption being caused to the area's transport network by the ongoing dispute between Southern Railways and the unions over changes to the role of train guards.

Members of the Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce and the south coast chambers claim that problems on Southern Railways have cost the local economy more than three hundred million pounds.

The business leaders say the rail operator, the RMT and ASLEF unions, and the Transport minister all bear responsibility for the continuing row.

On Friday rail passengers protested against the ongoing dispute

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Train drivers reject deal in Southern rail strikes row

The train drivers' union ASLEF has tonight rejected a deal aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over driver-only trains on Southern Rail.

It was thought that the majority of members would agree to the deal - but in a shock move - drivers decided by 54 to 46% NOT to accept the recommendation.

It's only the second time in ASLEF's history that drivers have gone against their union's recommendation. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse sends this from East Grinstead station....

ASLEF train drivers reject Southern deal - Rail boss says: 'Naturally we're saddened'

More industrial action to come in the dispute on Southern trains

The head of Govia Thameslink Railway - Southern's parent company, has given his reaction to the decision of ASLEF union members to reject a deal in the ongoing dispute about driver-only trains.

“Naturally we’re saddened and hugely disappointed, as will be our passengers, with today’s decision by drivers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the ASLEF leadership. We now need to understand the issues which led to this outcome and we’ll be seeking to meet with the union as soon as possible to see how we can agree a way forward.”

– Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern’s parent company

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Transport boss invites rail union for dispute talks

Library photo: Charles Horton speaks to ITV News Meridian in November 2016 Credit: ITV News Meridian

The chief executive of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), parent company of Southern, has invited the RMT union for face-to-face talks next week to try and settle their dispute.

In a personal letter to Mick Cash, general secretary of the union, Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR said his negotiating team was willing to meet next week "in a spirit of open and positive dialogue to explore the areas of difference between us with a view to resolving the dispute in the interests of our customers and employees".

Mr Horton also asked Mr Cash that: "these discussions be conducted without the threat of further industrial action hanging over them".

GTR will now be contacting the union to make "the necessary arrangements" for the talks.

An RMT spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we have had a formal offer of talks from GTR. That offer will be considered by RMT's executive later today. The union will be making no further comment until the executive has met."

Commenting on the agreement with ASLEF announced yesterday, Mr Horton said:

We are pleased to have reached a deal with the ASLEF leadership. They were prepared to come to the table, with passengers liberated of any threat of strike action.

Both parties arrived ready to listen, have an open mind and ready to do a deal and I am grateful to Mick Whelan and his Executive for the spirit they entered the talks and agreed a deal with us. I also recognise and respect that drivers will now vote on the agreement and I hope it will be given their green light.

We would call on the RMT to follow that same consensual spirit and leadership and come to the table with the courage, confidence and conviction to settle their dispute for the benefit of passengers, the regional economy, their members and our employees"

– Charles Horton, Chief Executive, GTR
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