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Aslef suspends overtime ban to resume talks with Southern

Aslef has pushed back the start of its overtime ban in order to resume negotiations with Southern.

The ban would have prevented drivers who are members of Aslef from working overtime on Southern services, and was due to start on 4 June.

But now, the union has stated that this has been put on hold so that talks can take place with the operator to resolve a number of issues, including concerns with drivers’ terms and conditions, pay and industrial relations.

“We met Southern ahead of our overtime ban, which was due to start on Sunday,” said Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef. “Industrial action is always the last resort; we would much rather talk and negotiate than take industrial action.”

Whelan added that the decision to suspend the ban came after Southern said it was prepared to sit down and negotiate. “We now have a fortnight to try and find a resolution which will work for passengers, for staff, and for the company too,” he concluded.

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, said the operator was glad that the union had put the ban on hold to resume negotiations.

“We are pleased that Aslef has suspended the drivers’ overtime ban that was due to start this Sunday,” he said. “This will allow talks to continue, on a wide range of issues including pay. We aim to continue to find a way forward over the next few weeks and finally bring matters to a conclusion."

Aslef’s action has also been welcomed by the wider rail industry, as Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “This is welcome news for the thousands of people that use Southern and for the local economy in the south.

“On board supervisors have already been successfully introduced on Southern services and it’s right that the industry should work together to harness new technology and smarter ways of working to deliver a long-term improvement plan for customers and communities across route.”

Today’s news also follows fellow union RMT calling off industrial action on Southern, Northern and Merseyrail services last month following the Manchester attack.

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Jason   02/06/2017 at 13:49

I guess that this means ASLEF and Southern are just about to sell Conductors down the river as is Always the way with ASLEF

Leicester Dave   02/06/2017 at 14:43

And what's wrong with that? all they do is read the papers all day

The Knowledge   05/06/2017 at 09:39

Hmm, the same way as they stopped conductors being financially incentivised to penalty fare people, perhaps...?

Gabriel Oaks   05/06/2017 at 12:08

Yet again passengers may suffer with cancelled 'no second person' trains due to the unions' political actions........ Many operators have operated trains safely for decades with just a driver; the unions need to move with the times.

Mark Hare   06/06/2017 at 11:31

@Gabriel Oaks - decades ago we weren't running 12-car trains packed to the rafters. Passengers like to see a second member of staff on the train, simple as that. Whether or not they choose to make themselves visible or stay in their cab is another matter entirely...

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