The latest round of strikes by Southern Rail are set to place on Monday, with guards and drivers set to walk out for 24 hours, after talks between the RMT and ASLEF failed to reach a mutual agreement.The disruption on Southern Railways has been immense over the past few months and there have several reports of the strain the travel chaos is putting on employees, families and businesses. The point of rancor between the two parties is the necessity of guards on trains, ASLEF argue that driver-only trains have been operation for decades and have been proven to be safe, whilst the RMT insist that moves to remove the guards present a danger to the security of passengers.

Southern Rail stuck in the past

It seems that RMT is fighting a losing battle, driver-only trains are quickly becoming the norm on several transport networks around the world, with many even going further and beyond, with the introduction of driverless trains. In such times and with transport networks under increasing pressure to lower rail fares to hard pressed customers, guards on the train seem to be something from a bygone era rather than a present day necessity. Nevertheless the union remains resolute in its stance and have organised yet another strike upon the passengers of Southern Rail.

What next for Southern Rail?

As the Southern Rail has worsened, there have been increasing calls for the government to intervene in the ongoing dispute.

Considering the current disposition of the incumbent Conservative government, there is the possibility that legislation could be passed which would classify public transport as an essential service and ban workers in the sector from strike action, effectively putting transport services in the same category as the police and military services.

This radical proposal has garnered increasing amounts of support as the dispute between the RMT and ASLEF drags on, but in turn so has the policy of re-nationalising the public railways and taking control away from private business who have proven incapable of effectively running public transport.

Both of these policies, which a decade ago would have be seen as radical, are rapidly gaining support among the general public as the status quo continues to lead to delays, high prices and cancellations. Which policy the current government chooses to endorse remains to be, but government intervention is now being demanded by the public to solve the current deadlock.