Southern Rail strike: RMT union leader Mick Cash barred from Acas talks

Mr Cash said the union was 'furious' about the snub 

Alan Jones
Wednesday 14 December 2016 17:37
RMT leader Mick Cash after he was barred from union talks ahead of the Southern Rail strike
RMT leader Mick Cash after he was barred from union talks ahead of the Southern Rail strike

The leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) claims he was barred from taking part in peace talks on the Southern Rail dispute at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

Mick Cash arrived for discussions alongside the leader of the drivers' union Aslef, Mick Whelan, but left shortly afterwards after he "was told that I would not allowed to take part by representatives from the company."

He said: "Southern Rail were fully aware last night that I would be attending the talks this morning at Acas alongside our Aslef colleagues. RMT is furious at the complete contempt that has been shown to us by Southern Rail this morning which leaves us in a state of limbo when we should all be around the table thrashing out the issues that have led to the current action."

He added: "Our members were expecting discussions to take place today and instead we have had the door slammed in our faces. That is no way to rebuild the confidence of the workforce in the Southern management and the talks process and it is no way to reach a solution which is what the public are crying out for."

Southern Railway said the RMT only represented 12 drivers, as opposed to 1,000 in Aslef.

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern's parent company, said: "We hope today's talks with the Aslef leadership are productive. I have spoken with the general secretary of the RMT this morning and informed him we'd be happy to meet him at Acas later today to talk about any new proposals he has to try and end the conductors' dispute. And I also asked him to call off their programme of strikes planned for Christmas and New Year."

The RMT is embroiled in a separate dispute over changes to the role of guards which has led to a series of strikes in recent months.

The guards are due to stage another 48-hour walkout next week, and again over the New Year but today's talks were over the driver-only trains dispute rather than the guards' row.

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