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.