GTR Call For Talks 'Any Time, Any Place, Anywhere'

Tuesday 9th August 2016

eastbourne buzz news - Eastbourne Railway Station

“Any time, any place, anywhere” is the offer to the RMT Union for fresh talks from Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) over the current strike.

Eastbourne commuters are currently unable to get to Westham and Pevensey station or beyond in the east, with a limited service to Brighton in the west, where conductors have walked out in the ongoing dispute over driver-only trains.

GTR say that one-in-five rostered conductors defied RMT pressure and turned up for work during the first day of the five-day strike yesterday (9 August). 

GTR's renewed bid to end what it calls "this pointless, needless and senseless" industrial action comes as it publishes full details of an 8-point written offer to the RMT which was tabled last Friday during talks at ACAS and which GTR reaffirmed in a letter emailed to Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary yesterday. 

The key points of the offer are:

  • Guarantees that every train currently operated with a conductor will continue to have either a traditional conductor or a second member of staff on-board;
  • Guarantees traditional conductors will retain their current competencies and second members of on-board will be trained to safety-competent standards including track safety training, evacuation, traction and full route knowledge (excluding train dispatch) which will pass to the driver;
  • Joint agreement by both Southern and RMT on the driver having full control of train dispatch and joint agreement by both parties to a proposed list of exceptional circumstances whereby a train can run without a second member of staff on-board;
  • Guarantees to retain the On-board Supervisor role (OBS) beyond 2021, should GTR retain the franchise and minimum levels of voluntary overtime for all OBS staff, details of which would be agreed with the RMT
  • A joint review in 12 months time of the new OBS role to include role development, training and career progression;
  • Collective bargaining rights for OBS staff.

GTR Chief Executive Charles Horton commented, "This comprehensive and incredibly fair offer is on top of existing commitments made on no compulsory redundancies, no reduction in salary, a guaranteed above-inflation pay-rise for 2 years, additional salary paid to staff working voluntary overtime and no compulsory location moves.

"Everyone is sick and tired of this pointless, needless and senseless strike, which is so damaging to people's everyday lives and the South-east economy, and causing undue disruption and hardship to customers and employees.  I urge the RMT to come back to the table to talk, have constructive and productive discussions on the way forward and shake hands on a deal.  We are prepared to meet them directly or through ACAS any time, any place, anywhere to let common sense prevail and give our customers back their trains and give them the service they expect.

“Finally I’d like to thank the one-in-five conductors who turned up to work yesterday. They have demonstrated their commitment to serving our passengers in the best way possible. The RMT claimed support for the strike was ‘rock solid’,  when the reality is large numbers of conductors now recognise that this is a pointless strike”


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