Further misery was heaped on London commuters after Southern Rail drivers announced they would go on strike again.

The threat of further strike action loomed after talks between Southern and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) broke down yesterday, February 14.

RMT confirmed that they would strike for 24 hours the whole day of Wednesday, February 22 from midnight to the next midnight.

The trade dispute concerns the safety impact of introducing driver-only trains and the removal of guards from services.

RMT said that the discussions broke down after Southern “made a mockery” of the negotiation and “chose to completely ignore the safety issues at the heart of the matter”.

It had looked as though an agreement had finally been made between Southern and the other union involved Aslef earlier this month, but RMT branded that deal a “shocking betrayal”.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “The abject failure by Southern Rail in yesterday’s talks to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action.

“These disputes could have been settled if Southern/GTR had listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.

“Instead they have shifted the goal posts even further and have now created a strike breakers’ charter where one of the numerous new conditions where trains can run driver-only is during industrial action.

“That is simply scandalous and a measure of the betrayal of our members as a result of the TUC-brokered deal with Southern in the drivers’ dispute.”

“The full detail of Southern’s plan is far worse than anyone could have anticipated. This is dire news, not just for staff, but for passengers who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service.

“RMT will not walk away from the fight for a railway that puts public safety before private profit.

“It is now down to Southern/GTR to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”