Aslef cuts next week’s Southern strike, but warns it is ‘taking a longer-term view’
The latest strike on Southern Railway, due to start next week, has been scaled down from six days to three.
Aslef announced today that the drivers’ strike, originally meant to run from 9 to 14 January, would now only take place on 10, 11 and 13 January.
However, Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, warned that the union was not backing down in the industrial dispute and was instead “taking a longer-term view”.
Aslef planned the strikes following similar action in December, despite Southern’s efforts to stop it with a high court injunction.
The operator’s industrial dispute with unions, who oppose its plans to introduce driver-only operation (DOO), has led to acute disruption on the rail network, with passengers urged not to travel during the last Aslef strike.
Negotiations took place between Southern and Aslef at ACAS headquarters yesterday, but Whelan accused the company of “simply going through the motions” by negotiating while continuing to impose DOO. The union’s overtime ban on drivers remains in place.
A Southern spokesperson said: “This is a cynical ploy to minimise the impact on Aslef’s drivers’ pay packets and maximises misery, disruption and hardship for passengers.
“Aslef’s move shows pure contempt for the travelling public and it still causes massive disruption over next week. These strikes are pointless and they should call the whole thing off and let common sense prevail.”
The company warned that no services would operate on strike days, and said passengers should only travel if it was essential.
Aslef announced three further strikes on 24, 25 and 27 January.
(Image c. Yui Mok from PA Wire and PA Images)
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