Rival union slams proposed Southern driver deal

Posted On 16 Mar 2017 at 12:00 pm

The RMT has described a proposed agreement reached by Aslef and Southern as “the old deal in a new envelope” and says it believes drivers will reject it.

The agreement was announced yesterday by GTR, which owns Southern, and the Aslef union, weeks after another deal was narrowly rejected by Aslef members.

Details of the agreement have not been officially released, but the unofficial @BrightonStation account tweeted what is says is the deal out last night.

The previous deal was rejected after it was criticised for a long list of exceptions under which trains could run with only a driver.

The list in the new agreement has been reduced from eight items to five, including last minute sickness, driver or on board supervisor error, and supervisors being delayed on other trains.

There is also a new requirement for all on board supervisors to have a personal track safety qualification.

Aslef began striking last winter but action has been suspended since the first deal was struck in Feburary. The RMT, whose members are predominantly guards whose jobs have now been changed to the new on board supervisor role, has been striking since April and is still staging walkouts.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “We have now had a chance to look at the detail and this is basically the old deal in a new envelope and RMT does not believe for a moment that drivers and guards will be hoodwinked

“Drivers and passengers have still lost the cast-iron guarantee they once had of a guard on the train which means they will now be more exposed and left vulnerable when something goes wrong. Disabled passengers will be seriously disadvantaged as access to train services ‎is compromised.

“GTR bosses and Charles Horton will be delighted at this proposed deal as no juggling or fiddling with words can disguise the fact that it gives the bosses the whip hand to continue to drive down safety and hammer down on the workforce.

“The fact is that GTR have deliberately done this deal behind the backs of guards and their union. Yet again guards are finding out at the last minute and via social media not from their employer.

“The real agenda here is to undermine the jobs and skills of a loyal and dedicated workforce regardless of the cost to safety and accessibility.

“RMT’S disputes remains on and we are seeking an urgent meeting with company and government.”

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