Aslef drivers vote to end Southern dispute over driver-operated trains

09 November, 2017, 01:55 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • More than 150,000 journeys will be affected by strikes today

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT Union, said: "These strikes are about rail safety and accessibility pure and simple".

A Southern Rail train.

Sharon Keith, Northern's regional director, said the company was prepared to guarantee jobs and pay for conductors for the next eight years if an agreement could be reached on "better customer service".

SOUTHERN Rail drivers have ended 18 months of commuter misery by agreeing a deal with the train drivers' union Aslef.

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"Where once such passengers who required assistance were guaranteed a second member of staff to assist, a new clause in this deal deliberately sets out how, where there is no on-board supervisor, the driver will knowingly have to leave such passengers stranded on trains and stations".

Drivers' union Aslef are keen for its members to accept the deal, but the RMT union has rejected it, citing passenger safety rather than financial gain.

'We are pleased with a resolution, which we believe, works for the staff and the company, and we now look forward to working with Southern Rial to restore good industrial relations and deliver the service passengers in the region deserve'. "In fact, as we expand our fleet, we will be hiring more Drivers and Guards to help deliver more and better services for passengers".

Cross-border train services are expected to be disrupted by a second day of strike action by rail staff in the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday.

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Billed as the "biggest disruption to passengers in decades" due to the number of operators affected, hundreds of services will be cancelled, replacement buses will be laid on and services that do run will be busier than normal. Greater Anglia plans to run a full service as most trains do not have guards, while Southern said for the most part it will be "business as usual", with some alterations planned.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "The RMT is playing a political game, however it has backfired as Southern will be running more than 90 per cent of services for passengers".

"It's also not about safety, as the independent rail regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains which have been used in this country for thirty years, are safe".

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