Southern train drivers on the Brighton main line have rejected a deal between their union, ASLEF, and bosses at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).
The union said that 374 drivers (54.1 per cent) voted against the deal, with 317 (45.9 per cent) in favour out of 693, with two ballot papers ruled to be invalid.
The turnout was 72.7 per cent as 953 ballot papers were sent out to members after the ASLEF leadership emerged with a potential settlement on Thursday 2 February from 11 days of TUC-hosted talks with GTR.
The union said: “ASLEF drivers have rejected a proposed resolution to the long-running dispute with Southern Railways.
“The following question was put to our driver members employed by Southern: ‘Do you accept the proposed agreement on driver-only operation and related issues on GTR Southern services?’”
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We understand and support the decision arrived at democratically by our members and will now work to deliver a resolution in line with their expectations.”
GTR’s chief operating officer Nick Brown said: “Naturally we’re saddened and hugely disappointed, as will be our passengers, with today’s decision by drivers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the ASLEF leadership.
“We now need to understand the issues which led to this outcome and we’ll be seeking to meet with the union as soon as possible to see how we can agree a way forward.”
Next week guards belonging to the RMT union will hold a 24-hour strike on Wednesday (22 February).