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Aslef adds to overtime ban with three days of strikes on Southern in August

Aslef drivers have today announced three days of strike action next month, to the dismay of Southern bosses who are already dealing with three days’ worth of strikes from the RMT in July.

The industrial action will take place on Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2 and Friday 4 of August.

It also comes a day after GTR, the parent company of Southern, were told by DfT to pay £13.4m in compensation payments to improve services on the troubled franchise.

On top of that, it comes amidst criticism from Network Rail non-executive director Chris Gibb who sharply criticised the management of the franchise in his much-anticipated independent review into Southern’s issues.

The strike will also mark the second piece of industrial action Aslef have launched in the last month following an overtime ban that started at the end of June for all of the union’s members working for Southern.

Aslef has taken the decision to go on strike over a pay dispute with the company, whereas the overtime ban is in protest against the implementation of driver-only operated trains on Southern’s trains.

Members of the union yesterday voted overwhelmingly for a strike, as 61.8% backed walking out from an 80.8% turnout, and 78.4% voted for taking part in action short of a strike.

As expected, GTR bosses have reacted with dismay to the news, which piles pressure on the franchise in what has been a terrible month in a torrid year for the operator.

“To call three days of strikes spread across a week is a deliberate move to cause maximum disruption for passengers,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“To do so in protest against an offer to increase pay by 24% is simply breathtaking. Commuters, the vast majority of whom are seeing pay rises many times less, will understandably be as shocked and frustrated as we are.”

The spokesperson added that it was imperative to modernise in order to increase capacity on Southern, the most congested part of the UK’s network, where passenger numbers have doubled in places in as little as 12 years.

“That requires modernisation of infrastructure, trains and working practices. The trade unions must join us in that endeavour,” the company added.

But Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “Now is the time for Chris Grayling and the Department for Transport to step in and assist in finding a resolution to a problem they caused.”



Ken Gray   15/07/2017 at 10:01

No wonder the government has started building roads again. If they are not careful the RMT and ASLEF will send the railways the same direction as the coal mines

Barry   15/07/2017 at 13:35

Perhaps Ken the Management are judging the Industry not just from the histrionic Unions but also the inept Management and incapable Dft steering? No Party comes out of this well and the intransigence applied by them all is a scandalous breach of public trust - and money!

Andrew Gwilt   16/07/2017 at 09:22

Why can't the government strip Southern from its main operator-GTR and let other rail operators such as Abellio, MTR, Trenitalia, Arriva or Stagecoach to take over the Southern franchise and to put a stop to these strikes with deploying more extra trains to increase more seats available and better journeys for commuters who use Southern.

Southern Commuter   16/07/2017 at 09:41

Just separate Southern Railways from GTR and allow another rail company to franchise the Southern rail franchise. It's a disgrace to see more strikes happening.

Gabriel Oaks   17/07/2017 at 05:46

Southern were required by the DfT to introduce DCO working in May 2016 as part of its management contract. If GTR are stripped of their management contract (franchise) this issue would still be present for the new incumbent (plus a lawsuit from GTR). Perhaps it is time for the 1906 Trade Disputes Act to be amended to remove protection for Unions where strike are a political action? This would leave passengers free to pursue RMT /ASLEF for compensation.

Acton   17/07/2017 at 11:25

You can change the franchise but it will still be (largely) the same train crews TUPE'd across, just saying ........

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