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Southern further imposes DOO as next Aslef strike looms

Southern rail has today imposed its controversial policy of driver only operation (DOO), the policy which lies at the heart of the operator’s nine-month dispute with the RMT and Aslef.

Drivers now close 70% of the operator’s train doors, up from the previous figure of 40%, in a role which is increasingly being taken away from guards.

Guards, which will now be called ‘on-board supervisors’ and will focus more on offering customer service to passengers, according to the TOC, were forced to sign new contracts agreeing to the change or risk losing their jobs.

The RMT warned that Southern will become “an even worse shambles” after the change, claiming that routes where the change has already been made “are in crisis”.

The union said that on-board supervisors are still helping drivers to close doors to keep passengers safe and “to keep services on the move” as drivers are hampered in their new duties by poor in-cab CCTV and curved station designs.

The move comes following the end of the latest three-day strike by RMT guards over the issue, which started on New Year’s Eve and ended at midnight this morning.

Members of drivers’ union Aslef are due to join RMT to stage another week-long strike starting next Monday, a move which led to the cancellation of over 2,000 Southern services late last year.

Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) called the strikes “pointless”, saying that the transfer to DOO had almost been completed.

The firm reasserted its position that DOO is entirely safe and offered reassurance that staff will not face job losses or pay cuts until at least 2021 when the franchise is next up for renewal.

A GTR spokesperson urged an end to the unions’ industrial action, saying that the “door remained open for productive talks” with RMT and Aslef in order to resolve the dispute.

Previous attempts to resolve the dispute failed with negotiations between GTR and Aslef breaking down last December. It is likely that there will be further negotiations this week in an attempt to avert next week’s planned action.


GW   03/01/2017 at 12:04

Please report this accurately. It is DCO not DOO. Driver Controlled Operation not Driver Only Operation. There is a difference.

Jerry Alderson   03/01/2017 at 15:16

RTM said "on-board supervisors are still helping drivers to close doors to." So, the OBS are fialing to serve passengers - not ding the job they are paid to do. I predicted this action would happen and I wonder what action GTR will take. GW wrote "Please report this accurately. It is DCO not DOO. Driver Controlled Operation not Driver Only Operation. There is a difference." The rail industry and the rail press are in complete confusion over the term DOO (because "O" means "Only") and I think we need new terminology that can be constitently used. In my view DCO simply means that the driver has complete control over the operation of the train, which is done because it makes complete sense (reducing dwell time and allowing any other on-board staff to focus all of their time on passengers). DOO has tended to mean driver-only presence, which was introduced purely as a cost-saving measure by BR. Someone else on here came up with DOO and DOO+1, which I quite like and have used, but the "O" for "Only" is still used for scaremongering. Perhaps DOO should be banned as a term and we should use DCO and DCO+1, the latter being what GTR is implementing and will use 99.9% of that itme. Either way, I can't see people getting it right.

Jerry Alderson   03/01/2017 at 15:23

Forgot to comment on "Drivers now close 70% of the operator’s train doors, up from the previous figure of 40%." I'm sure I read somewhere that the figure was supposed to be 86% by the end of December 2016. Anyone able to confirm they haven't got that far, and what figure Southern is still aiming for? By the way, I recently came across an old RTM article from September 2014 - just two days *before* GTR took over - referring to the government introducing the OBS role and mobile station hosts (article referred to DOO and closing ticket offices) and the unions opposing both. It shows that the DfT has been behind and fully supportive of the OBS initiatiive.

Huguenot   03/01/2017 at 17:25

True DOO has been in operation on Thameslink (then called the "Midland City Line") since 1987. And they don't have conductors, merely occasional random ticket checks. If GTR win this one (and I hope that they do) then I hope that DOO/DCO can spread rapidly to the remaining suburban rail operating companies that don't use it.

Lutz   03/01/2017 at 17:41

About time. Next; the drivers.

Pwt   03/01/2017 at 20:43

I think we are light years away from driverless trains on heavy rail mixed traffic lines.

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