Latest Rail News

08.11.17

ASLEF members agree on deal to end long running Southern dispute

GTR and ASLEF have finally agreed a deal to end the long-term industrial dispute over Southern Railway.

A deal was put to the union’s members last month and today the agreement was accepted by 80% of drivers.

The pair have been at odds since last April after ASLEF took issue with drivers’ pay and the planned driver-only operated (DOO) services.

The latest deal will give drivers a 28.5% increase in pay over the next five years without changes to the terms and conditions under which Southern employs its staff. It also includes an agreement whereby every train will have a second safety-trained person on board except in exceptional circumstances.

“Our members on Southern, after careful consideration, and long and hard negotiations, have voted to accept this resolution to our industrial dispute with the company,” commented Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF.

“We are pleased with a resolution which we believe works for the staff, and the company, and we now look forward to working with Southern Rail to restore good industrial relations and deliver the service passengers in the region deserve.”

The news follows three days of striking and an overtime ban on drivers in August, as well as £13.4m in payments which the DfT made GTR spend on the franchise.

Responding to today's referendum result, Nick Brown, GTR’s COO, explained: “This dispute has been difficult for our passengers in particular and we are pleased that we can now move ahead and deliver stability by finally concluding this deal with ASLEF.

“Our trains will be planned to have a second person on board and this has been the arrangement we have operated over the last year. More on-train staff are on more trains with more passengers than ever before. The on-board service concept has been welcomed by our passengers across the board.

“Should, in certain circumstances, a train not have that second person on board then it will still be able to run until a replacement can be provided. Avoiding cancellations is key to us delivering a resilient and reliable service across the busiest and most congested part of the UK rail network.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) used the news to criticise the RMT which is responsible for today’s widespread strikes.

Plummer said: “This decision leaves the RMT leadership completely isolated. The travelling public will not thank them for another round of disruptive and unnecessary strike action.

“The RMT should work together with rail companies to deliver the industry's plan to improve services for passengers, communities, the country and their members.

“This agreement shows that unions can be a part of a bright future for the railway, supporting the industry to deliver its plan to improve for passengers with more jobs in rail, including safety trained staff on trains and at stations.”

However, Mick Cash, the RMT’s general secretary, said today’s deal was “shoddy” and “appalling”. Adding that it let down disabled and elderly people who would no longer be guaranteed a second member of staff to assist them in boarding.

He also claimed the deal was only made because of financial pressures brought on ASLEF by Southern. Suggesting legal costs aimed at the union had forced its hand and made it impossible not to come to an agreement.

Cash continued: “The result changes absolutely nothing in terms of RMT’s campaign for a safe and accessible railway for all.

“On behalf of RMT I repeat the demand that Theresa May and Chris Grayling call off the centrally imposed blockade on serious talks in all of the current rail disputes and allow us to get on with genuine negotiations with their contractors.

“If the government allows normal industrial relations to recommence it would free the union up to negotiate deals like the ones we have successfully struck in Wales and Scotland that‎ guarantee a guard on the trains. If it's good enough for Scotland and Wales it's good enough for the rest of Britain.”

In February a similar proposal – rejected by ASLEF members – was described by the RMT as a “shocking betrayal”.

Top image: Victoria Jones PA Archive

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here

Comments

Neil Palmer   09/11/2017 at 05:54

A Tale of Two Micks – and their Unions One seems genuinely concerned about his members having a safe working environment, their financial well-being, and also seems to be concerned about the rail industry and not inflicting needless pain on the travelling public. The other seems interested only in holding on to the power to cause disruption to the public whenever the mood strikes him. He couldn’t care less about the damage he’s causing to the industry that employs his members or the financial suffering of those members because he appears intent on waging a political battle (and politically he appears to stand a bit to the left of Stalin & Lenin). No prize for guessing which one is Mick Whelan and ASLEF and which one is Mick Cash and the RMT. Southern’s agreement with ASLEF “includes an agreement whereby every train will have a second safety-trained person on board except in exceptional circumstances“. Nick Brown of GTR states “Should, in certain circumstances, a train not have that second person on board then it will still be able to run until a replacement can be provided”, so avoiding disruption to hundreds (or thousands) of passengers. Cash, as expected, criticizes the ASLEF deal and says “it let down disabled and elderly people who would no longer be guaranteed a second member of staff to assist them in boarding”. How thoughtful of him, so Mick is concerned about disabled and elderly people is he? Of course not, because Cash’s ‘solution’ for those exceptional circumstances is that the service must be cancelled, so those disabled and elderly people (including those who may be able to board a train by themselves, along with thousands of others) will have NO service at all. Spoken like a true communist Mr Cash, if one person can’t have a service (in exceptional circumstances) with assistance from a second member of staff then no one can ride the train. And how do those people get where they’re going you ask? Why by having to resort to more dangerous forms of transport, like travelling by road where there are deaths every day. So much for his claim to be concerned about passenger safety. Cash is so good at talking out of both sides of his mouth that I’m surprised he didn’t go into politics. The sooner he’s replaced by someone who understands the meaning of the word ‘negotiate’ the better off everyone (including RMT members) will be. I’m sure for many that day can’t come soon enough.

PP   09/11/2017 at 09:14

Couldn't agree more, Neil. ASLEF have reached a sensible compromise which appears to be a win for all involved, while the RMT have needlessly robbed their members of a fortune, caused needless disruption and hastened their own demise - all that will happen now is that TOCs will harden their stance and impose DOO on their own terms. Eventually staff will have to accept it, because they'll end up unemployed if they don't. Much as people criticised Bob Crow, and in many ways he was a boorish thug, there's no way he'd have let it get to this point - he may have had a few strikes but he then would have reached a pragmatic compromise that protected his members' interests. He may have been politically quite extreme, but he never used his members as pawns for political battles, and he was respected by everyone who dealt with him, even people like Boris Johnson, who was as politically different as it is possible to get. The RMT's behaviour has been disgusting, and if they don't back down soon, there will be a lot of people out of jobs and the steady flow of investment, improvement and passengers to the railway will stop and quite possibly reverse.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >