Southern Rail Now Hit By Drivers' Union Strike

Action will be in addition to the RMT Christmas strikes

Members of the train drivers union ASLEF yesterday (November 28th) voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action on Southern Rail on December 13-14th, December 16th and between 9-14th January.

The dispute is over Southern's decision to introduce driver-only services. 87% of ASLEF members voted for strike action, "We say there should be no introduction or extension of driver-only operated routes on Southern without the agreement of ASLEF."

Charles Horton, CEO of Southern's parent company Govia Thameslink, said, "We're disappointed that the union is now contemplating industrial action... It's perfectly safe for the driver to have sole responsibility for the operation of a modern train, and that's how a third of the trains up and down the country - with the full agreement and support of ASLEF - already operate."

ASLEF general secretary Mike Whelan said, "We have always been happy to talk to the company and we have always believed it is, or should be, possible to do a deal as we did with ScotRail in Scotland, but it takes two to tango and the company has not been prepared to negotiate."

In separate industrial action over the same issue the RMT, the transport workers union, has announced members will strike on December 6-8th, 22nd, 23rd and Christmas Eve, and again on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and January 2nd.

The RMT and Govia cannot agree about planned changes to the role of the conductors, which would result in switching the responsibility for closing train doors to drivers.

The union says the move would be a threat to passenger safety and security, and that 400 guards could lose jobs.

Govia says that by opposing the changes the union is refusing to relinquish outdated working practices.


November 29, 2016