UPDATE: Southern train drivers' agreement '˜old deal in new envelope'
A fresh agreement between Southern train drivers and rail bosses has been described as the '˜old deal in a new envelope'.
Union ASLEF reached an agreement with rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway earlier this year, but when balloted the majority of its members rejected the deal.
GTR announced today (Wednesday March 15) that a new agreement has been reached and will now be put to ASLEF members.
The union held several strikes in December and January, leading to the complete shutdown of the network, over the introduction of driver-only operation on Southern trains.
But Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, which is yet to settle its dispute with GTR, described the agreement as ‘the old deal in a new envelope’, adding: “Drivers and passengers have still lost the cast-iron guarantee they once had of a guard on the train which means they will now be more exposed and left vulnerable when something goes wrong.
“Disabled passengers will be seriously disadvantaged as access to train services is compromised.”
Meanwhile Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: “ASLEF members now have the opportunity to decide on the new terms of the agreed resolution with GTR Southern.
“This agreement has the full support of the negotiating team and the executive committee, and offers solutions to our concerns, as well as restoring the confidence of all parties, and the travelling public.”
Andy Bindon, GTR director, added: “We’ve had constructive talks with ASLEF and we’re pleased we’ve been able to secure a recommended deal, subject to approval from its members, to end their dispute.
“It’s been an extraordinarily difficult period for passengers, staff and the regional economy and we are glad we’ve found a way to move forward together. We look forward to restoring good industrial relations with ASLEF.”
However GTR has yet to bring an end to the dispute between itself and the RMT union, which represents conductors who are being transferred to the role of on-board supervisors as part of the changes.
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