Negotiations between the RMT union and Southern rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have failed. The employer and union officials were at mitigation service Acas this morning (15 August) in a bid to resolve the dispute over the role of guards on the franchise.

The RMT has warned that GTR wants to cut its workforce, while the operator said it wants its drivers to close train doors with the help of CCTV in future.

The dispute led to a five-day-long strike from 8 August, with tens of thousands of commuters being affected. The RMT suspended the industrial action over last Thursday and Friday to open negotiations with GTR.

But the latest talks between the parties failed to produce an agreement.

"There are no further talks planned but our services remain available," an Acas spokesperson said.

Angie Doll, passenger services director at GTR, claimed the RMT will not agree to a deal. She added: "Passengers will be rightly exasperated that the RMT won't agree to what most fair-minded people would believe is an incredibly good offer. We are guaranteeing jobs, pay and a second person on as many trains as we do today and also offered to work with the RMT to agree modern working practices to reduce cancellations and passenger disruption.

"We will now move forward with our modernisation plans which will deliver better customer service for our passengers. Our eight-point proposal is still on the table and we urge the RMT to give this serious consideration.

"Over the coming weeks, we will be working closely with our staff as we start to implement these vital changes. After so much unnecessary industrial action, we must all get back to the job of giving our passengers the service they expect and deserve."

The RMT's governing body will meet this afternoon to consider the union's next move. "We had a golden opportunity in these talks to make some serious progress on the core issue of a second person on the train who would have protected the safety of passengers, delivered customer service and ensured access to services for those with disabilities or needing assistance," said Mick Cash, the general secretary of the RMT.

"β€ŽIt's a bitter blow that a firm set of union proposals that could have allowed us to move forward were rejected out of hand. The matter will be discussed by the union executive this afternoon."