'Deal reached to end 17-month Southern Rail dispute'

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The leader of the RMT union today said he had been told a deal has been agreed between the Government, another union and Southern Rail to end the damaging 17-month-long industrial dispute.

Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary, has written to Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, requesting details of the deal which “had to be approved by yourself”.

A spokesman for Aslef, the train drivers’ union, confirmed it had been in talks with Southern and “progress is being made”.

The dispute, the longest in rail history, has lost the local economy tens of millions of pounds, seen house prices fall along main Southern routes and caused major and lasting disruption for the network’s 300,000 daily passengers.

They have suffered 39 strikes, each 24-hours, with two more scheduled for this Friday, September 1, and next Monday, September 4, in the dispute over the changing role of the guard and train driver-only operation.

RMT guards and on-board supervisors have staged 33 strikes and Aslef six — each Aslef walkout bringing the Southern network, which serves busy commuter routes into Victoria and London Bridge, to a standstill.

The RMT quoted “sources” connected with the dispute as the basis for its “deal agreed” claims.

The Aslef spokesman said: “We are talking to the company and continue to talk. Progress is being made but no deal is imminent.”

Services to Waterloo were disrupted again today by a signal failure, just a day after long-running engineering works were completed. It followed problems for passengers yesterday after works on the £800 million upgrade overran.


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