The Guardian view on the Southern train strike: keep the doors open for talks | Editorial

The Guardian view on the Southern train strike: keep the doors open for talks | Editorial
Southern rail and the RMT can sometimes seem as obdurate as each other in neglecting passengers, but the public’s interest in safety means guards on trains are desirable in most cases

The Southern rail franchise and the RMT rail union can often seem to deserve one another. The former talks as if irrational union obduracy is the only problem on the rail network when that is manifestly not the case. In Southern’s narrative, only the RMT’s blind defence of its members’ jobs stands in the way of an efficient and affordable modern rail system for thousands of commuters heading into London from Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Few who use the network will swallow that.

The union, by contrast, can sometimes talk as if only the rail employers ever act unreasonably. This is an equally absurd claim, especially this week, as the RMT conducts a five-day strike across the Southern network. In the union version, only the selfless devotion to public safety of the RMT stands between Britain and a rail system in which passengers’ lives are casually and cynically sacrificed to profit. This is not a view that many others would recognise either.

Related: Southern trains crisis: seven factors that threw services off the rails

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Source: Guardian Transport

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