Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is to ask a High Court judge to order train drivers not to strike.
The company said this afternoon (Thursday 1 December) that it had issued proceedings to seek an injunction to stop industrial action by the drivers’ union Aslef.
The union is planning strikes in the run up to Christmas – a 48-hour strike on Tuesday 13 December and Wednesday 14 December and a 24-hour strike on Friday 16 December.
It is also planning a week-long walkout in the new year, from Monday 9 January to Saturday 14 January.
Aslef has also announced a continuous overtime ban starting next Tuesday (6 December).
The train operator has lodged a court application citing its belief that the union’s industrial action breaches customers’ rights under European Union law.
GTR chief executive Charles Horton said: “We launch legal action reluctantly but now without any other choice.
“We asked the union to withdraw the industrial action and to re-enter discussions but they refused to do so which means that we now have no choice but to go to court.
“We have a responsibility to our customers to do all we can to protect their interests and maintain services for them.
“Passengers now face the prospect of 40 days of continuous industrial action by Aslef and, on top of months of travel misery they’ve already suffered, it is totally unacceptable.
“The proposed industrial action called by Aslef is unjustified, unnecessary and we believe unlawful.
“It will severely disrupt all our customers, including the tens of thousands of customers a day who use our services for travelling to and from Gatwick Airport.
“We believe that the industrial action breaches our and our customers’ rights under EU law and so we are seeking an injunction to stop the industrial action.
“It’s perfectly safe for the driver to have sole responsibility for the operation of a modern train and that’s how a third of the trains up and down the country – with the full agreement and support of Aslef – already operate today.”
The injunction application is expected to be considered at a hearing in the coming days.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.