Southern make RMT offer to end latest strike action
Southern has offered to re-enter negotiations with the RMT to end the year-long dispute over driver-only-operated (DOO) trains on the condition that the union drop plans for further industrial action next month, it has been revealed.
In a letter from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Southern’s parent company, to Mick Cash, RMT’s general secretary, GTR has reached out to the union who previously demanded “genuine and meaningful talks” to halt the strike action.
Last week, it was revealed Aslef union leaders had, for the second time this year, agreed new terms to settle their dispute with GTR, but RMT refused to co-operate with GTR, saying that the new agreement was “basically the old deal in a new envelope”.
However, GTR has now asked the union to resume negotiations on 4 April in a fresh attempt to end the dispute that has, to date, seen the RMT stage 30 days of strike action.
Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, wrote: “Our passengers, staff and the regional economy want certainty and an end to your industrial action, not a 24-hour truce.
“It's disappointing that the RMT are now threatening a 31st day of strike action on 4 April. Over the past year, we have met with the RMT countless times to try and settle your dispute. Unfortunately, each time has ended in disappointment.”
The letter then went on to “respectfully request” the union to call off the strike in exchange for face-to-face talks to continue with Southern bosses.
At the last RMT strike on Monday 13 March, Southern confirmed that they ran 90% of their services despite the disruption stemming from the dispute.
Responding to Southern’s offer, RMT stated that the union’s executive committee were giving the offer “serious consideration”.
“RMT has made it clear that we are looking for meaningful and constructive talks in respect of both the guards’ and drivers’ disputes on Southern Rail,” said Cash. “On Friday, we made a genuine and positive approach to the company to get that talks process back on track.”
The RMT general secretary confirmed that the union had received the offer this morning from GTR/Southern, adding that it was “surprised” at the length of the timetable for talks that the operator is proposing.
“The company response to the RMT call for talks will now be given serious consideration by the union’s executive committee,” added Cash.
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