Brighton commuters see Thameslink strike threat lifted

Posted On 08 Dec 2009 at 10:40 pm

Union bosses have called off a strike on the Thameslink Brighton to London train service.

Aslef, the train drivers’ union, said that its 550-plus members would not now strike after an improved pay offer from First Capital Connect.

The company said: “We are pleased that Aslef has withdrawn the ballot for industrial action.

“The union has considered our revised pay offer and agreed to recommend it for acceptance to members.

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“The offer is spread over two years and includes productivity-based increases.

“We are working jointly with Aslef to encourage our drivers to resume rest-day and overtime working, our aim being to provide a full, normal service to our customers as quickly as possible.”

Aslef said that it would recommend that its members accept the revised pay offer which equates to 5 per cent over two years.

Members will vote on the offer, with the ballot papers due to be returned by Wednesday 13 January.

Aslef general secretary Keith Norman said: “I’m pleased the company has come forward with an improved offer and hope they will address the causes of the current disagreement by recruiting more train drivers.”

Passengers from Brighton and Hove to London Bridge, East Croydon, King’s Cross and other stops on the Thameslink route, have had to endure more delays and overcrowding than usual over the past month.

The problems began when First Capital Connect drivers refused to work on rest days or do voluntary overtime after the company said staff faced a pay freeze in the coming year.

The company had to operate a revised timetable with agreement from the Department for Transport.

Meanwhile, Southern Railway staff are currently holding a strike ballot called by the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union. The ballot closes on Monday 21 December.

If staff vote to strike – over bank holiday pay – they could take action from Monday 28 December.

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