Belfast Telegraph

RMT tables proposal to break deadlock in Southern dispute

One of the unions embroiled in a long-running dispute over driver-only trains at Southern Railway is to put forward a proposal aimed at breaking the deadlock.

Leaders of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will meet MPs today and explain its plan for a six-month trial of a so-called "accessibility guarantee" which would mean all services affected by the row would have a driver and an on-board supervisor.

Disabled, elderly and vulnerable passengers would be provided with guaranteed assistance from on board staff on all services, without the need to book in advance.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "We will be telling MPs that we are hoping the company will reconsider our proposal for a trial six-month period of an accessibility guarantee.

"We would hope that they would agree to this sensible proposal as the Association of Train Operating Companies consultant's report has said train companies should guarantee a second person to comply with their legal obligations.

"That there is no agreement yet points to the continued hand of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling blocking a settlement with even the Government-backed Gibb report into Southern admitting that the Secretary of State is determining the direction of this dispute.

"The reason this dispute is now entering its 15th month is because the Government have backed the employer.

"MPs now need to ask when the Government is going to back a fair settlement instead."

RMT members on Southern will stage a fresh strike on July 10, while the drivers' union Aslef is banning overtime.