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Southern Railway guards to strike again in staffing dispute

Bosses and unions have been at loggerheads over plans for driver-only trains.

Guards on Southern Railway are to stage a fresh strike in the long-running dispute over staffing and driver-only trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out for 24 hours on August 1, coinciding with the first of three strikes by drivers.

The RMT called the new strike because of the “total failure” of the Government and Southern’s owners Govia Thameslink Railway to try to resolve the year-long dispute.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “Neither Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and his Government, nor his contractors GTR, have lifted a finger to resolve this long-running dispute despite approaches from the union, and so yet again today RMT is forced to take action and send Southern Rail a clear message that we will not allow them to strip the railway of a safety-critical second member of staff on these vital rail services.

“In the past week we have seen the Government propping up the failed Southern Rail operation as they collude with the company to undermine the fundamental principles of safety and access.

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The dispute has been a protracted one (Tom Pugh/PA)

“The Government are up to their eyeballs in the Southern Rail scandal and have given the company a free run at smashing up the safety and access regime out of pure ideology.

“RMT pays tribute to our Southern Rail guards and drivers who have stood firm for well over a year in the fight for rail safety despite outrageous abuse and intimidation from the company. They are a credit to their communities and to the whole trade union movement.

“RMT has a clear plan for resolving this dispute but that requires talks and it requires talks now. This fiasco cannot be allowed to drag on any longer.”

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