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Southern strikes: union votes to accept resolution

ASLEF drivers have accepted a proposed resolution to the long-running dispute with Southern Railways.

In total, 731 (79.1%) voted Yes in answer to the question ‘Do you accept the proposed agreement between GTR and ASLEF?’ while 193 (20.9%) said no. This was on an 87.1% turnout.

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said: “Our members on Southern, after careful consideration and long and hard negotiations, have voted to accept this resolution to our industrial dispute with the company. 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 Rail to restore good industrial relations and deliver the service passengers in the region deserve.
“The agreement means we will have a second safety-trained person on every train covered by this agreement except in exceptional circumstances. That person will have all the relevant safety competence - including the skills to evacuate passengers in an emergency.

“The agreement also confirms the terms and conditions under which our members at Southern are employed.

“And the agreement gives our drivers the security of a five-year pay deal, which covers the October 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 pay settlements, through to the end of the franchise.”

ASLEF said the resolution accepted applies only to Southern and that operator.

Whelan added: “It’s important to stress that this deal is company-specific, and does not have implications for any other train operating company on Britain’s railway network.”

Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Operating Officer Nick Brown said: “This dispute has been difficult for our passengers in particular, and we are pleased that we can now move ahead and deliver stability by finally concluding this deal with ASLEF. 

“Our trains will be planned to have a second person on board, and this has been the arrangement we have operated over the last year. More on-train staff are on more trains with more passengers than ever before. The on-board service concept has been welcomed by our passengers across the board.

“Should, in certain circumstances, a train not have that second person on board then it will still be able to run until a replacement can be provided. Avoiding cancellations is key to us delivering a resilient and reliable service across the busiest and most congested part of the UK rail network.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This shoddy deal, sponsored by Theresa May and Chris Grayling, extends and institutionalises discrimination against disabled and older people.

“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. That is frankly appalling.”

  • For more on this story, see RAIL 840, published on December 6.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 08/11/2017 16:04

    If only Govia Thameslink Railway were to separate Southern (including Gatwick Express) from the TSGN franchise and to have its own franchise back but instead of Govia. Trenitalia, Abellio, First Group, Arriva, Stagecoach or MTR to take over the Southern franchise and to maintain the franchise with lesser strikes to happen and to order new trains to replace the Class 455’s and Class 313’s. Whilst Govia will still maintain its Thameslink Great Northern franchise until 2021.

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  • Daniel evans - 09/11/2017 13:16

    If only it went back to British rail

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    • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 10/11/2017 04:52

      Daniel is right. I agree with him.

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  • FrankH - 15/11/2017 19:51

    “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. That is frankly appalling.” Better that than the service being cancelled and everyone let down. If you need assistance how apart from visibly being unable to board is the second person on board supposed to know your waiting for that service. I've just tried to pre book a ticket and nowhere does it ask do you need special assistance.

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