HS2

16.02.17

Aslef members reject Southern deal as further strike looms

Aslef drivers have voted to reject a proposed resolution with Southern, therefore failing to put an end to the bitter 10-month dispute between the operator and rail trade unions.

 The union’s referendum result comes a day after RMT’s own negotiations with Southern broke down, triggering another 24-hour strike scheduled for 22 February.

 At the beginning of February, Aslef’s executive reached a truce with Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway, a move that sparked outrage from fellow union RMT who described it as a “shocking betrayal.”

 But when the revised deal was put to Aslef’s members, train drivers voted by 54% to reject the truce.

 Mike Whelan, the union’s general secretary, argued the executive team “understand support the decision arrived at democratically”, and will now work to deliver a resolution in line with the expectations of its members.

But commenting on the result, Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “Naturally we’re saddened and hugely disappointed, as will be our passengers, with today’s decision by drivers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the Aslef leadership.

“We now need to understand the issues which led to this outcome and we’ll be seeking to meet with the union as soon as possible to see how we can agree a way forward.”

The rejection of a deal between the two parties will cause even more concern for commuters as the high possibility of both unions taking industrial action will cause major disruption to services.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, expressed his concern: “This is a disappointing outcome that will worry hundreds of thousands of passengers.

“At the heart of this dispute are changes that will provide passengers with the better service they need and want. Where safety, jobs and pay are unaffected, the railway must be able to harness new technology and smarter ways of working to deliver the modern rail service the country needs.”

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Comments

Jerry Alderson   17/02/2017 at 17:20

I watched the BBC News at Ten on Thursday night and was annoyed that it did not mention the closeness of the vote - 54% to 46%, only fractionally less close than Brexit. The implication ofthe BBC report was that more industrial action was a near certainty. Given the closeness of the vote I doubt it. I don’t think the drivers want to lose more money to achieve very little. I hope that sanity will prevail and that rather than a kneejerk reaction of reinstating the overtime ban and announcing more strike days that the ASLEF leaders find out why drivers voted no. They ought to find out if there is a common thing that could be changed in the agreement that would give a vote in favour and then negotiate with GTR/Southern on that one element. Or GTR could offer a one-off payment.

H. Trevor Jones   17/02/2017 at 21:53

Can the rail management also discuss/negotiate with their staff on a 1-to-1 basis and find out different staff members' different aspirations re maybe different conditions of service and different rewards? Why should one size fit all? Maybe some very busy trains need 2 conductors whilst a very lightly loaded train might not need any, especially if it can't be afforded to be run if the staff cost can't be kept down.

Lutz   19/02/2017 at 00:27

If GTR can not resolve this, then the Government must act to bring in legislation to remove the right to strike for rail workers.

Mark Hare   20/02/2017 at 10:34

@Lutz - Why should rail workers be denied the right to strike? This is a basic right or workers, whatever industry they are employed in. Furthermore, action short of a strike such as the recent overtime ban has highlighted the fact that Southern do not employ enough drivers and cannot run a full service without drivers working their Rest Days and additional overtime. Or would you force them to work overtime as well?

Lee   21/02/2017 at 10:44

The'.....and will now work to deliver a resolution in line with the expectations of its members' line from Mick Cash is interesting, what about the the expectations of the customers? Nice to see the customers interests are of importance to the RMT.

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