BREAKING NEWS: Train drivers reject Southern deal

Southern train SUS-160219-155325001
Southern train SUS-160219-155325001

Southern train drivers have rejected a deal from rail bosses to end a dispute over driver-only operation.

The agreement was brokered by the Trades Union Congress earlier this month between the union’s leadership and rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway, but 54.1 per cent of ASLEF’s members balloted voted to not accept the deal.

Both the RMT and ASLEF have held a number of strikes over DOO, which will see drivers open and close train doors, with conductors transferred to the role of on-board supervisors.

Union officials have raised safety concerns about the potential loss of the second safety-critical member of staff on Southern services.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: “We understand and support the decision arrived at democratically by our members and will now work to deliver a resolution in line with their expectations.”

Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern’s parent company, said: “Naturally we’re saddened and hugely disappointed, as will be our passengers, with today’s decision by drivers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the ASLEF leadership.

“We now need to understand the issues which led to this outcome and we’ll be seeking to meet with the union as soon as possible to see how we can agree a way forward.”

Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas said: “It’s no surprise that the drivers have rejected this proposed deal as the offer didn’t include maintaining the presence of a guard on every train, which is key to safety.

“It’s now time for the Government to step in and bring this line into public hands. Southern are running our service into the ground – and passengers deserve much better than warm words from ministers who have utterly failed to get a grip on the rail crisis.”

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