Rail jobs, staff issues and training

15.12.16

Southern in line for more strikes as talks break down

Southern passengers have been warned to expect another day of cancelled services as talks between parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Aslef failed to avert a strike.

GTR resumed talks with the union yesterday after a 48-hour Aslef drivers’ strike forced the operator to cancel all services and tell passengers not to travel.

However, the company announced that today’s talks had failed to reach an agreement, meaning a further strike will take place on Friday, with passengers advised not to travel again.

Nick Brown, GTR’s chief operating officer, said: “We’re deeply disappointed, as our passengers will be, that Aslef has been unable to accept our proposals and we cannot find a way forward to end this dispute with the drivers’ union at this stage.

“We’re sincerely sorry that commuters work and family lives are being punished with this unjustified and unprecedented industrial action.”

An Aslef spokesperson told RTM that the union was “still continuing talks next week”, but tomorrow’s strike would go ahead. Aslef also has an ongoing overtime ban, further contributing to the disruption.

Southern has already repeatedly suffered disruption caused by guards’ strikes led by the RMT. Both unions oppose the expansion of driver-only operated (DOO) services, saying it will threaten jobs and passenger safety. Mick Cash, president of RMT, claims he was barred from yesterday’s strike talks.

Tomorrow Gatwick Express trains, also operated by GTR, will run every 30 minutes instead of every 15.

UPDATE: 11:37 16/12/2016: In the wake of continuing strikes today (Friday), the government is under pressure to find a solution to the crisis. On Thursday night around 120 passengers marched to the DfT from Victoria station, Southern’s main London hub, to hand in a letter demanding government action to break the deadlock between Southern and the unions.

A spokesman for the Association of British Commuters, said: “We have suffered a year-long nightmare because of the collapse of Southern rail. We have desperately called for government action and have been repeatedly ignored – even while many of us have lost our jobs, or had to move house.”

Katy Davies, one of the organisers of the march, said: “This is not just about the financial impact of paying for a service that doesn’t work, but quality of life: people who are losing jobs, patients missing treatment, families who have to arrange emergency childcare, people thrown off trains that aren’t going anywhere late at night.”

Davies said that Southern services were unreliable every day even before the strikes, adding: “We’re at breaking point and want answers from Chris Grayling. If he fails to act, we’d call for his resignation.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “I am deeply disappointed that this totally unnecessary strike action is to continue and cause thousands of passengers more disruption and misery."

(Image c. Victoria Jones from PA Wire and PA Images)

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

Comments

Jerry Alderson   16/12/2016 at 17:43

BBC reporter said on lunchtime news that he saw no end to the ASLEF dispute with GTR/DfT. I think it depends on whether ASLEF if concerned with some deficiences that mean drivers do not 99.995% confidence (nothing in life is ever 100%) that it is safe to close the doors and drive off - i.e. whether the TOC can do something to reduce the occasions when drivers do not have that considence - or if ASLEF just want to turn the clock back and have a guard/conductor on every train the country to support the RMT. As rail user - who wants to see good customer service and minimal dwell times at stations - I hope it is the former. If it's the latter this will drag on for years. I can understand that no train driver wants to be blamed for an accident, but that's like saying no bus driver or lorry driver wants to be blamed for an accident. Sooner or later a driver wil get blamed. What we need is a sense of perspective. There are 1.6 billion national rail passenger journeys a year involving at least 2 crossings of the platform-train interface. That's 3.2 billion a year. Very few of those 3.2 billion lead to accidents. Even fewer lead to an accident where the rail staff (whether driver for conductor/guard or platform dispatcher) are responsible.

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

28/07/2017Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

Londoners will soon be able to enjoy a unique rail experience – by riding a train going along the disused Mail Rail line. The 6.5-mile... more >
DfT names five winners of fresh £16m stations fund

28/07/2017DfT names five winners of fresh £16m stations fund

The DfT has today announced the successful bidders for a £16m package, part of the second phase of the New Stations Fund, which will serve ... more >
East Midlands Airport offers £2.5m fund to boost station connections

28/07/2017East Midlands Airport offers £2.5m fund to boost station connections

East Midlands Airport has today offered details of a £2.5m deal designed to improve station services as part of the next franchise in the r... more >

editor's comment

03/07/2017Rapid progress needed

As RTM went to press, the National Infrastructure Commission outlined a list of the ‘top 12’ immediate priorities on which ministers must make rapid progress in the next year. Unsurprisingly, major rail schemes, including HS2, Crossrail 2 and HS3, featured highly in the projects that needed speedy development.  Lord Adonis stated that all of these have been agreed in principle, “but require decisive action to get ... read more >

last word

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

David Sidebottom, director at Transport Focus, analyses the drivers in performance of passenger satisfaction in tram compared to rail. Results published in our recent Tram Passenger Survey (... more > more last word articles >

'the sleeper's' daily blog

Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

28/07/2017Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

Londoners will soon be able to enjoy a unique rail experience – by riding a train going along the disused Mail Rail line. The 6.5-mile track runs deep under the capital, criss-crossing Tube lines and formerly linking six sorting offices with mainline stations at Liverpool Street and Paddington. At most, the small, electric and driverless trains operated for 22 hours a day, employing 220 staff and carrying more than four million le... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

How can the new government support rail freight?

20/07/2017How can the new government support rail freight?

Following the recent general election, Maggie Simpson, executive director at the Rail Freight Group, considers what action the government can tak... more >
Building a sustainable future for rail services in Wales

20/07/2017Building a sustainable future for rail services in Wales

Geoff Ogden, interim managing director at Transport for Wales (TfW), talks to RTM about how the organisation is putting sustainable development a... more >
A potential benchmark for engineering quality and architectural design

20/07/2017A potential benchmark for engineering quality and architectural design

Victoria Hills, chief executive officer at the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), gives RTM an update on the work to create a... more >
Simple changes for energy efficiency

20/07/2017Simple changes for energy efficiency

Michelle Papayannakos, rail sustainability specialist at the RSSB, argues that improving the way energy is managed should be a high priority for ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

A game changer for Wales and Borders

17/07/2017A game changer for Wales and Borders

Andy Thomas, managing director for Network Rail’s Wales route, describes how the infrastructure owner will work more collaboratively than e... more >