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Aslef reinstates overtime ban after members reject second Southern deal

Aslef has his week announced that it plans to reinstate its overtime ban after its members rejected a deal with Southern for the second time.

Last month, a ban had been arranged to start on 4 June but union leaders postponed this to continue negotiations with the operator.

But the two parties have failed to come to an agreement, forcing Aslef to announce a new overtime ban to begin at midnight 29 June – much to the despair of Southern’s long-suffering customers.

“We have been talking to the company, over the last fortnight, in parallel, but separate, talks about drivers’ terms and conditions; industrial relations; and pay,” said Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef.

“The company’s failure to engage over DOO is the reason our members will no longer work overtime – which, of course, is entirely voluntary – from Thursday 29 June. By giving the company another fortnight, we had hoped to avoid industrial action because industrial action is always the last resort; we would much rather talk, and negotiate, around a table, than take industrial action.”

Whelan added that he could “categorically state” that the company spokesman was not telling the truth when he said that Aslef asked GTR to package up an extension of DCO with pay.

“That is a blatant lie and a deliberate and malicious attempt to mislead the passengers this company has been letting down, every day, since it got its franchise,” he said.

However, Southern stated that the deal it offered drivers would significantly increase wages and that it was disappointing that they had not agreed to end the dispute.

A spokesperson for the company said: “The Aslef leadership has twice accepted the extension of driver-controlled operation and asked us this time to package it up with a pay deal.

“We've made a very generous offer that in four years would take a driver’s base salary to £60,683 for the existing 35-hour, four-day week, so we find this threat of an overtime ban surprising and extremely disappointing.”

Fellow union the RMT have also called on Southern to stop treating their staff and the unions with “complete contempt” and instead sit round the table to settle the dispute.

“This is a highly significant development and it’s about time Southern stopped treating their staff and their unions with complete contempt. RMT’s driver overtime ban remains in place,” said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

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Ray Gunn   20/06/2017 at 09:18

The union's ongoing actions here beggar's belief. Passengers deserve better. GTR needs staff it can rely on.

Mark Hare   20/06/2017 at 13:32

Or just maybe Ray, Southern should employ enough drivers so that it doesn't have to RELY on drivers working their Rest Days and overtime in order to operate their trains? Have you considered that?

King's Lynn   20/06/2017 at 13:59

At £60.5k per driver (not including NI contributions, pension schemes etc) I bet they DO have to rely on drivers working their rest days to a certain extent...

Lutz   21/06/2017 at 06:53

At some point a no-strike agreement will have to be imposed with prison sentences and bankruptcies as necessary.

Mark Hare   21/06/2017 at 13:09

@Lutz - at what point does it state in the article that drivers are on strike? The drivers are simply exercising their right to enjoy their rostered time off, as I'm sure you do in your job. They are not on strike. As I said, if Southern employed sufficient drivers then they would not need to rely on drivers working on what should be their days off, or staying on after their booked shift has finished, just in order to run the basic timetabled trains. It's quite simple.

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