28 July 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT announces new strike dates in Southern guards safety dispute as company and Government refuse to talk.
RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed a new programme of industrial action involving Southern rail guards after a point blank refusal by both the company and the Government to engage with the union as the clock ticks down towards the 21st August deadline.
RMT offered a three month pause to action if the company took the gun away from the guards heads and agreed to suspend their proposals and allow space for talks to take place. That request has been kicked back in our faces.
The union wrote to new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling asking for direct talks after he said it was a priority to sort out the chaos on Southern. That letter has been ignored.
With the downgrading of the safety-critical role of the guards due to be railroaded through on the 21st August the union has no option but to confirm a new programme of action to defend jobs and safety. RMT's executive has agreed today;
....to instruct our members to take strike action by not booking on for any shifts between 0001 on Monday 8th August and 2359 on Friday 12thAugust. “
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“This action has been forced on us by the arrogance and inaction of Govia Thameslink and the Government who have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute or in tackling the daily chaos on Southern.
"Our fight is with the company and the Government who have dragged this franchise into total meltdown. We share the anger and frustration of passengers and we cannot sit back while jobs and safety are compromised on these dangerously overcrowded trains.
"It is disgraceful that neither the company or the Government are prepared to engage and are looking to bully through the extension of DOO and the attack on the guards set for 21st August. They should wake up and get round the table now as an urgent priority."