11 October 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT calls for fresh direct talks with Southern's Charles Horton after he tells media he will guarantee a second member of staff on all services.
Following comments by Southern Rail boss Charles Horton saying that he will “absolutely” guarantee a second safety-critical person on all trains that currently have a conductor RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has written calling for immediate face to face talks to break the deadlock in the dispute.
In the letter, Mick Cash, says that it was a refusal to give the second person guarantee in talks last week which led to the company rejecting RMTs proposals for a solution. It is the pivotal point in the whole dispute.
In his letter to Charles Horton, Mick Cash says:
“Our organisations have now been in dispute for over six months and we are now in the middle of the first part of a new wave of strike action. Our organisations have held many talks and discussions and I have personally met many of your most senior staff. Your negotiators have also now stated quite clearly that they will no longer attend any further talks organised by Acas, while your company has also now issued three legal challenges to my union’s ballot and strike action over recent days. Up till now – and despite my previous requests – I have yet to meet you face to face to discuss ways of resolving this dispute and avoiding strike action.
I heard your comments on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning in which you stated that “absolutely” there would be a second member of staff on board every train. This, however, is in total contradiction to what I was told by your Passenger Services Director Angie Doll at a meeting on 6th October.
To explore your comments further, therefore, and to break the obvious deadlock that our organisations have reached during this dispute, it is imperative that we both meet personally to find a way to end this dispute and get your services running to the benefit of both your staff and the travelling public. We really must end the war of words being waged over the media and sit down together to resolve this issue and your comments this morning provide an opportunity to do just that.
I therefore look forward to a positive response to my request for a meeting as a matter of extreme urgency and your urgent confirmation that you are now guaranteeing a second member of staff on board every train.”