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RMT leader barred from peace talks in Southern dispute

Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT Credit: PA

Transport union leader Mick Cash has been barred from taking part in peace talks on the Southern Railway dispute at Acas.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union leader had been due to join talks with officials from Southern to seek a resolution in a bitter dispute over driver-only trains.

Mr Cash said that the company had "refused" him access to the talks, which also involved the Aslef union. He branded their behaviour as "absolutely disgraceful" and "counter-productive" today.

RMT is furious at the complete contempt that has been shown to us by Southern Rail this morning...Our members were expecting discussions to take place today and instead we have had the door slammed in our faces.

– Mick Cash

Southern's parent company earlier today said that they had offered to meet Mr Cash "later today" over the dispute.

A planned strike went ahead despite the talks, with another 24-hour stoppage planned on Friday, and a week-long walkout planned in the new year.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has refused to rule out taking action to prevent future stoppages like the one which brought all Southern Railway services to a halt.

Talks due to try to resolve Southern Railways dispute

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Paul Davies

Talks will be held tomorrow in a bid to try and resolve the Southern Railway drivers' dispute.

It comes after the first day of 48-hour walkout by members of Aslef left 300,000 people with no way of getting to work.

Tomorrow's strike is still set to go ahead, as well as another 24-hour stoppage on Friday.

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Mother's emotional message to MP over rail strike

Jenny Lehane posted this photo of her six-year-old son on his way to school. Credit: Jenny Lehane / PA

A single mother who fears she will lose her job because of delays commuting to work during the Southern rail strike has written an emotional message to her local MP.

Jenny Lehane said she was writing the email with "tears streaming down my face", as she pleaded with the government to "do anything" to stop the industrial action.

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In the message, also posted on the ITV News Facebook page, Ms Lehane said she had been forced to get her six-year-old son out of bed at 5.30am to take him to school on "another three hour journey".

She said: "Do you have any idea of the stress, worry and upset this is causing. I HAVE to go to work. I am a single parent and my 6 year old needs his mother to work to keep a roof over our heads.

"A message from me to all involved: hang your heads in shame!"

RMT calls off Christmas strike announcing earlier walkout

The union has changed the date of a pre-Christmas walkout. Credit: PA

Rail union RMT has rescheduled a strike calling off a three-day walkout from December 22 to replace it with a 48-hour stoppage from December 19.

The strike, surrounding a bitter dispute over changes to the role of guards, changed the date of the walkout following consultation with passengers and members.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "It is from that daily feedback from passengers that the union has taken the decision to alter the dates for action over Christmas. That's the difference between us and Southern. We listen, they don't."

Strikes scheduled for December 6 to 8 and from New Year's Eve to January 2 remain in place.

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