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Southern rail dispute talks end with no deal

Talks aimed at stopping industrial action on the Southern rail network have ended with no deal, the rail operator has said.

Aslef has been in negotiation with the rail company at conciliation service Acas but talks ended on Thursday.

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink (GTR) Southern’s parent company, said Aslef had been unable to accept their proposals.

Aslef has not yet commented on the outcome of the meetings.

Drivers will go ahead with a 24-hour strike on Friday.

A two-day strike by train drivers on Tuesday and Wednesday brought all Southern services to a halt and left services severely disrupted on Thursday.

Industrial action is also due to continue next week with a 48-hour strike by conductors.

‘Unjustified action’

Mr Brown said: “We’re deeply disappointed, as our passengers will be, that Aslef has been unable to accept our proposals and we cannot find a way forward to end this dispute with the drivers’ union at this stage.

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“We’re sincerely sorry that commuters’ work and family lives are being punished with this unjustified and unprecedented industrial action.

“The unions must stop the pain and suffering blighting passengers and commerce.”

Both Aslef and the RMT union are in dispute with GTR over changes to guards’ roles on driver-only operated (DOO) trains.

The RMT fears job cuts and has raised safety concerns, and Aslef has described DOO as “inherently unsafe”.

But Mr Brown said the company would continue with its plans to modernise the railway.

He said: “We urge the union to think again and work with us and move forward together. Our door remains open.”

Passengers waiting for a delayed service at London Victoria during a strike day on 13 DecemberImage copyrightEPA
Image captionA two-day walk out by train drivers ended at midnight

Read more at BBC.co.uk

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