A rail union chief has been ‘barred’ from Southern crisis talks between another union and the rail operator this morning (Wednesday December 13).
A 48-hour walkout by train drivers’ union ASLEF began yesterday (Tuesday December 13) in a dispute with rail operator Govia Thameslink Raiwlay over the introduction of driver-only operation on Southern services.
The strike, which follows 11 walkouts by the RMT union in 2016, has led to the complete shutdown of the Southern rail network, with no trains running.
Both GTR and ASLEF have started talks hosted by mediation sevice ACAS to end the dispute this morning as another strike is scheduled for Friday (December 15).
But Mick Cash, general secretary at the RMT, claimed he had been barred from attending the talks.
Mr Cash said: “Southern Rail were fully aware last night that I would be attending the talks this morning at ACAS alongside our ASLEF colleagues.
“This morning, on arrival for the talks, I was told that I would not allowed to take part by representatives from the company
“RMT is furious at the complete contempt that has been shown to us by Southern Rail this morning which leaves us in a state of limbo when we should all be around the table thrashing out the issues that have led to the current action.
“Our members were expecting discussions to take place today and instead we have had the door slammed in our faces. That is no way to rebuild the confidence of the workforce in the Southern management and the talks process and it is no way to reach a solution which is what the public are crying out for.
“I will now be reporting back to RMT’s executive on these developments.”
GTR confirmed that RMT, representing only 12 drivers, are not involved in today’s discussions.
Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We hope today’s talks with the ASLEF leadership are productive.
“I have spoken with the general secretary of the RMT this morning and informed him we’d be happy to meet him at ACAS later today to talk about any new proposals he has to try and end the conductors’ dispute. And I also asked him to call off their programme of strikes planned for Christmas and new year.”
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