Is it really over?
Alsef union members have finally agreed a deal to end the long running dispute over driver only operated trains.
The general secretary of Aslef, Mick Whelan said: “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.”
Nick Brown the chief operating officer at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) 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.”
The new deal means drivers will receive a pay rise of 28.5 per cent over the next five years, they will be joined on-board, on every train by a second employee who will have full safety training.
The chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, Paul Plummer representing train operators, criticised RMT bosses for “another round of disruptive and unnecessary strike action.” He urged them to work with rail firms like Southern to improve services.
Plummer added: “The RMT should work together with rail companies to deliver the industry’s plan to improve services for passengers, communities, the country and their members.
“This agreement shows that unions can be a part of a bright future for the railway, supporting the industry to deliver its plan to improve for passengers with more jobs in rail, including safety-trained staff on trains and at stations.”
However, on Tuesday, Mick Cash the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is not happy, he said that the deal is “shoddy, appalling” and “institutionalises discrimination against disabled and older people.”
He added: “Where such passengers who required assistance were once guaranteed a second member of staff to assist, a new clause in this deal deliberately sets out where there is no on-board supervisor the driver will knowingly have to leave such passengers stranded on trains and stations.”
“RMT believes that a significant factor in delivering this result was the threat of massive legal costs levied on the union by GTR as a result of the anti-trade union laws.”