It has now been two years since the dispute between Southern Rail and its workers began over the use of driver-only trains.

In that time there has been 40 days of strikes conducted by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union with no end in sight for country’s longest-running industrial dispute.

This is on top of numerous protests by commuters about the state of the situation and even the metal band The Darkness writing a song about how bad the rail service on Southern is.

Yet here we are, two years later, and now the Government is being accused of “ignoring” the bitter row over the role of guards on trains.

The RMT and the Association of British Commuters said it was "disgraceful" that joint talks involving Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and rail companies had not been held.

The union will hold a protest opposite Parliament today (April 25), two years after the conflict began.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "It is simply disgraceful that, two years into the Southern safety dispute, we have been unable to get all three parties, the union, the company and the Government, into the same room at the same time to thrash out a solution.

"Chris Grayling and his Government have chosen to ignore this dispute, even though Southern are operating a management contract directly under his control.

"That is a shocking dereliction of duty and, two years in, RMT is demanding yet again that those tripartite talks happen as a matter of urgency."

Emily Yates, of the Association of British Commuters group, said: "After two years, it still shocks us to see this passed off as a dispute about 'who opens the doors'."

"The truth is that the guard guarantee demanded by the RMT refers to an important staffing precedent that will ensure train operating companies have enough staff to cover all trains.

"This is absolutely vital for disabled, older and vulnerable passengers, who will otherwise be facing what is essentially a rollback of guaranteed access to train travel.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: "No-one wins from RMT disputes that attempt to disrupt the lives of people trying to get to work, get their children to school or to run their local business.

"Train companies are working to find a way through these disputes so that we can get on with the business of delivering our long-term plan for the railway, playing our part to support Britain's economy."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The RMT's continuing industrial action is pointless and throughout this dispute they have tried to cause the greatest disruption to passengers.

"This dispute is not about jobs or safety. Guards have been guaranteed their jobs and the independent rail regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for 30 years, are safe.

"Far from ignoring this issue, the Transport Secretary has met with the RMT several times to help bring an end to strikes.”