A High Court judge will decide tomorrow (Thursday 8 December) whether to grant train operator Southern an injunction to halt a strike planned by the train drivers’ union Aslef.
The union started an indefinite overtime ban yesterday (Tuesday 6 December) and has called a three-day strike next week and six days of strike action in January.
The dispute is over the introduction of driver-only operation on new trains.
The strike dates, combined with industrial action by the RMT guards’ union and the Christmas and new year holidays, would bring more disruption for passengers until mid-January.
Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) argued in court today (Wednesday 7 December) that the Aslef strike would unlawfully restrict freedoms guaranteed under European law.
If GTR is granted an injunction, it would set a British precedent although it relies on a European judgment from 2007.
The company said that driver-only operation was widely and safely used by other companies around the country and around the world. The change was not going to cost anyone their job. And no one would lose any pay.
The judge, Sir Michael Burton, asked about the prospects for an out-of-court settlement. He was told that things were happening in the background.
He said that he intended to give his judgment at 2pm tomorrow.