Southern commuters are still facing rail misery today after it was announced that drivers narrowly voted again to reject a deal with rail bosses.
The ASLEF union struck the proposed deal with Southern’s parent company GTR last month, the second attempt at an agreement over how driver-only operated trains will be run. This lunchtime, it was announced that 48 per cent had voted yes and 52 per cent no.
At issue were safety concerns over when trains would run without a second member of staff on board following the downgrading of the guard’s role to that of on-board supervisor.
The first deal listed several instances in which trains could run with just a driver and was narrowly voted down by drivers. The second proposed reduced this list and introduced a requirement for all on=board supervisors to have safety training.
The RMT, which represents conductors, is still in dispute with GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) over the same issue and is due to meet with the company tomorrow (Tuesday 4 April) after rescheduling its planned strike day, which is now due to take place on Saturday (8 April) instead.
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We understand and support the decision arrived at in a democratic vote by our drivers and will now seek new talks with the company and work to deliver a resolution to this dispute in line with the expectations of our members.”
Andy Bindon, of GTR, said: “It’s a hugely disappointing outcome for our passengers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the ASLEF leadership.
“We have shown a willingness and desire to find a solution to their dispute and we will now, once again, sit down with the union, understand the issues which led to this regrettable decision by the drivers and try and find a way forward to resolving it.”
Brighton and Hove commuters have had their journeys delayed by industrial action, including strikes and work to rule, since April last year, when the RMT first called a series of strikes. If it goes ahead, Saturday’s will be the 31st walkout.
ASLEF called a series of strikes over the winter period, which led to the talks which resulted in the first proposed deal.
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