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Aslef members vote to strike despite GTR injunction application

Drivers on the Southern and Gatwick Express lines are set to strike despite efforts by parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to stop industrial action using an injunction.

In an 82% turnout among Aslef members, 84.4% voted in favour of a strike and 95.8% voted in favour of action short of a strike.

The escalating dispute over the introduction of driver-operated only (DOO) trains has previously seen drivers refusing to stop at stations and refusing to drive trains until GTR obtained an injunction to force them to return to work.

A spokesperson for Southern said: “We are disappointed with the result and will now await notification from Aslef as to what its plans may be. Any action would only heap more disruption on our passengers - passengers who have already been through two recent strikes by RMT Union Conductors.

“We have repeatedly tried to engage with Aslef on this but the union has refused to engage in any sort of meaningful dialogue. We urge them once more to sit down and talk to us.”

Southern are expecting the results of an injunction application to stop the strike at the High Court this week. They argue that the strike is unlawful because of Aslef’s selection of which drivers to ballot and because they induced drivers not to drive trains before carrying out the ballot.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said he “welcomed” the “strong mandate” for action from members.

GTR has also faced strikes over the introduction of DOO trains from Southern conductors, led by RMT.

Yesterday Mick Cash, RMT’s general secretary, accused Southern of carrying out “a disgraceful campaign of misinformation” after warning passengers that services may face ongoing cancellations, and not hiring enough staff to cover shifts.

However, Southern said the cancellations were due to driver and conductor sickness.

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Jak Jaye   24/05/2016 at 12:37

Like the bias towards Govia Southern who are the most useless TOC in the country and thats saying something! along with their abysmal Thames Link franchise they should be slung off the railway

Jason Rice   24/05/2016 at 14:55

All GTR passengers want is a service that runs on time, has enough seats and is reliable. With the RMT playing silly games and conductors/drivers off "sick" they are not getting even a half decent service with trains cancelled, breaks in service and reduced rolling stock. It won't be long before the customer have had enough and demand the service they are paying for whether they have "safety critical" conductors or not.

Lutz   24/05/2016 at 19:35

The day will be welcomed when on-board train staff are gone and can no longer hold commuters to ransom.

Mranon   25/05/2016 at 19:59

To those who blame the RMT and sickness might want to know that you are all being lied to by GTR. This disgusting company have been threatening staff with 2 days deduction of pay for every 1 day they strike which is illegal, the sickness levels are nowhere near as high as they claim, they have threatened to remove all the passes from staff members families if they strike, they are trying to make them sign slave contracts for them to cross the picket line, the unions have tried to talk to GTR but GTR will not talk to them and without conductors on 12 car trains YOUR safety as passengers are at risk just for Charles Horton and his fat cat shareholders to get bigger bonuses and put profit before safety. Those blaming RMT and ASLEF should be blaming GTR instead. Sooner they are stripped of their franchises the better.

Neil Palmer   26/05/2016 at 04:14

Lutz, Aren't you forgetting that if RMT and the on-board staff can no longer hold commuters to ransom, the other Mick (Whelan) at ASLEF and drivers still can. Or are you thinking of the day when driverless trains move from something you only see on the underground and at airports to the main-line ?

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