No deal reached with Southern train drivers

Southern train
Southern train

No deal has been reached between rail bosses and Southern train drivers over pay, terms and conditions, and the introduction of driver-only operation (DOO).

The RMT union has been fighting Govia Thameslink Railway since April 2016 over the proposed changes, which make drivers responsible for opening and closing train doors and has seen its members transferred from the role of guards to on-board supervisors.

Earlier today (Wednesday August 30) it claimed to have heard that a deal had been reached between GTR and ASLEF, which represents Southern train drivers, but this has been denied by both parties.

A spokesman for Southern said: “Discussions with ASLEF are ongoing in relation to their dispute and we continue to work hard to reach a resolution.

“The position with the RMT is that we have made them a number of offers and met numerous times but they continue to call unnecessary strike action and refuse to engage in meaningful talks to end their separate dispute.”

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, added: “We would look at the responses of the other parties involved and then consider our position which has been consistent due to the litigation and the associated decisions impacting on ASLEF.

“Talks are ongoing, but suggestions of a deal being reached are inaccurate.”

The RMT is solely in dispute about the extension of DOO to the Southern network, and is due to hold strikes on Friday September 1 and Monday September 4.

However ASLEF is negotiating a deal over DOO, pay, and terms and conditions.

The union’s leadership have agreed two previous deals with GTR, only for its members to reject them both when balloted.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, repeated his call for round-table discussions with all parties involved in the dispute.

During the two strike days GTR says it expects to run a normal service on most routes, but trains on the Coastway route and between Hastings and Ashford International are expected to be affected.

Angie Doll, Southern’s passenger services director, said: “We plan to run more than 90% of our services during the RMT conductors strike on Friday and Monday but ask passengers to check before they travel.

“Passenger numbers have doubled in the past two decades giving us the most congested network in the country so we simply have to modernise the way we do things to keep people moving.

“We ask the RMT to reconsider the very good offers we have made, including job guarantees, and work with us to future-proof services for our passengers - most of whom simply want to get to their place of work each day.”

Southern and Gatwick Express run more than 2,200 services on a non-strike day and most services will operate to the normal timetable.

Full details of service changes can be found on Southern’s website.

Passengers can claim compensation if they are delayed by 15 minutes or more here.