Southern Want Union Referendum On Offer

Southern Railway has urged union leaders to put its offer to a referendum to end the dispute over the role of conductors, saying a #2,000 lump sum is back on the table if they do.

The move came ahead of a fresh round of strikes, with members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union due to walk out for three days from midnight.

Southern said increasing numbers of staff were turning up for work during strikes.

Charles Horton, chief executive of Southern's owner, Govia Thameslink Railway, said: ``The RMT needs to reflect on the hardship, distress and frustration being experienced by our customers and employees. Everyone wants to see an end to this dispute, but it is clear that, as things stand, there is currently little prospect of a negotiated settlement between us, however much we've tried.

``There have been significant developments since the union tabled the original ballot to conductors over six months ago. In order to move things forward, I am asking to union to let conductors - the people at the heart of this matter - determine whether this dispute comes to an end or continues.

``Nearly a third of conductors are now coming in to work on strike days and we expect that to increase. There is a full and fair offer on the table and it's time to stop the strikes and move forward.''

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