Posted 12th October 2016 | 2 Comments

'Second person' argument derails Southern talks

THE new peace talks in the Southern DOO dispute have broken down, as the RMT accused Govia Thameslink Railway of refusing 'to adhere to assurances on second person on the train'.

The issue is whether a train could run with only a driver on board in 'exceptional circumstances', and came to the fore yesterday morning while GTR chief executive Charles Horton was being interviewed on BBC radio's 'Today' programme.

GTR said it was willing to guarantee that no train would ever be planned to run with only a driver, but that there could be reasons to allow a train to enter service if no on-board supervisor was available. This condition the RMT has always refused to accept.

General secretary Mick Cash said “RMT entered talks with Charles Horton from Southern Rail this morning in good faith and with every intention of trying to reach an agreement.

“However, it became clear right from the outset that Mr Horton is refusing to stick by the assurances he gave to the media yesterday that he can 'absolutely' guarantee a second member of staff on all current Southern services with a conductor. This dispute isn’t about who open and closes the doors, it is about that absolute guarantee of a second safety-competent member of staff on these Southern services.

“RMT is angry and frustrated that a golden opportunity to resolve this dispute has been wrecked because Mr Horton has reneged on commitments he has given through the media. Passengers will rightly share our anger. The programme of industrial action goes ahead with the union remaining committed to genuine and meaningful talks.”

GTR has yet to comment on the failure of today's talks, but had already said that Mr Horton was referring to rostering guarantees in yesterday's broadcast.

Reader Comments:

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  • Martin, Sussex

    Its am interesting point. If there was only the driver on a 12 coach train and he became incapacitate for any reason. Assuming the trains safety features worked and the train came to a stop who would be in charge of the train, who would liase with the passengers etc etc On a 12 coach train there could be over a 1000 people. I traveled yesterday up to Crewe and on the Virgin trains train there must have been 5 members of staff on board. On the GTR train on the way home from London there must have been just the driver and I am sure the GTR train had more people on it. How can Virgin justify so many staff on a train where as Southern can't, is it about increasing profit?

  • James palma, London.

    What rubbish. RMT ave absolutely no intention in resolving this matter until they get their own way.