RAIL profiteer Southern is attempting to derail the next round of industrial action against its plans to sack safety-critical train guards by offering talks — but only if all strike action is called off.
Rail union RMT, which is fiercely defending the role of guards, is considering the proposal.
Train drivers’ union Aslef is also in dispute over the same issue.
For a year RMT workers have resisted Southern Rail’s attempts to introduce driver-only operated (DOO) trains which will see all guards removed from trains.
The union’s next 24-hour strike is planned for April 4.
In desperation Southern Rail has proposed talks on the same day, if strike action is suspended indefinitely.
Charles Horton, chief executive of Southern’s owners, Govia Thameslink, said in a letter to RMT general secretary Mick Cash that the union should go further than calling off the April 4 strike and suspend all industrial action.
This would be to enable “constructive and goodwill talks aimed at finding a negotiated solution,” Mr Horton claimed.
Mr Cash responded: “RMT has made it clear that we are looking for meaningful and constructive talks in respect of both the guards’ and drivers’ disputes on Southern Rail.
“On Friday we made a genuine and positive approach to the company to get the talks process back on track.
“The company response to the RMT call for talks will now be given serious consideration by the union’s executive committee.”
Members of Aslef are voting on a proposed deal to end their dispute with Southern over DOO trains.