Southern criticised for not returning to talks with unions

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield said the Government needed to do more to solve problems on the Southern network (photo from Parliament.tv). SUS-160512-163833001
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield said the Government needed to do more to solve problems on the Southern network (photo from Parliament.tv). SUS-160512-163833001

Southern has been criticised for its reluctance to return to talks with rail unions by one Sussex MP.

Passengers are facing the prospect of no trains running on some days over the next fortnight if strikes by train drivers’ union ASLEF go ahead from tomorrow (Tuesday December 13).

The RMT union has held eleven walkouts already in 2016 with another two planned before the end of the year over rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway’s plans to introduce driver-only operation, which would see drivers open and close train doors.

Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, contacted both the RMT and GTR to return to ACAS mediated talks to resolve the long-running dispute, but Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR has declined her appeal to return to talks.

She said: “I am angry that Southern have turned down this opportunity to resolve this dispute that has been ruining lives for most of this year.

“I am contacted by hundreds of constituents everyday regarding this dispute and I know that it is having a terrible impact on their lives. This is why I have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to try and bring both parties together for talks to find a solution.

“I continue to implore both Southern Rail and the RMT to return to talks, overseen by ACAS and do all they can to solve this dispute and bring this unnecessary crisis to an end as from next Tuesday there will be no trains at all operating from the constituency.”

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