Southern RMT rail dispute: Talks end without a deal

Train drivers have voted to reject a deal that their union, ASLEF, had agreed with Southern Rail to end the long-running dispute. The government is encouraging bidders for future franchises, including South West, to come up with plans to phase out guards, with new trains created to be operated by drivers alone.

That union will announce the results of a members' vote today over whether to...

Many drivers were angered when the terms of the deal were revealed in the following days, including concessions on a key principle that a train can run in certain circumstances with only a driver on board. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said, "RMT negotiators have made strenuous efforts through the ACAS machinery to resolve this dispute but the door has been slammed in our faces".

Describing the development as "dire news" for both staff and passengers who wanted a safe, reliable and accessible service, he said: "RMT's negotiating team is furious at the way this union and its members have been treated".

The outcome raises the possibility of more industrial unrest on Southern, although ASLEF reached an agreement with GTR as far as its driver members are concerned at the start of this month, after talks at the TUC.

More strikes will hit the Southern Rail network next week after talks between train bosses and unions broke down.

The move is likely to lead to further disruption on the trains.

About 900 of its members have been voting on whether to accept the deal, with ballot papers expected to be returned by Thursday. "RMT will not walk away from the fight for a railway that puts public safety before private profit".

"We came to today's meeting hopeful we could find a way forward to end the RMT's dispute and we're saddened it's ended so prematurely".

"Our focus is on protecting the jobs and pay of our people as we work to implement a modernisation programme that will maintain high safety standards, deliver better journeys and improve customer service".

  • Leroy Wright