TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling finally met rail workers yesterday to discuss the long-running driver-only trains dispute on Southern.
Rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash said there was a “full and frank exchange,” and the talks will resume after the union has sent Mr Grayling copies of its proposals to settle the dispute.
For a year Britain’s most chaotic train operator, Southern Rail, has been trying to rid trains of safety-critical guards.
RMT and drivers’ union Aslef resisted with strike action.
The dispute has spread to other operators who are attempting to get rid of guards — Merseyrail and Arriva North. South West Trains and Abellio Greater Anglia also face potential action.
Mr Grayling final caved in to calls to meet the unions, meeting Aslef on Thursday and RMT yesterday.
Mr Cash said the Tory minister “has now had an opportunity to get a clear understanding of RMT’s position on Southern Rail and the broader issue of how the extension of DOO impacts nationally on other rail franchises.
“RMT will supply Mr Grayling with a copy of the union’s clear and viable proposals for resolving the Southern dispute and the Secretary of State has agreed to meet us again.
“We will also be seeking further meetings with Southern and the other train companies as we seek to move forwards in the interests of safe and accessible rail services.”
He said the talks will also include loss of skilled rail jobs as a result of cuts by maintenance operator Network Rail.