Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

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

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

Strike action has caused delays and cancellations across the Southern network stretching back to April 2016, after Govia Thameslink Railway - Southern's parent company - announced plans to remove conductors from its trains, leaving them exclusively operated by the driver.

Southern operates services in the Ashford and Tonbridge areas of Kent.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: "RMT members stand solid, united and determined again this morning in the latest phase of strike action in a raft of separate disputes which are about putting safety, security and access to transport services before the profiteering".

Aslef, the drivers' union, confirmed its members had voted 4-1 to end its industrial action.

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"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".

Train companies said they will try to run as many services as possible, but some routes into London will face disruption, and passengers have been warned to check before they travel.

A survey of over 1,000 businesses for the Rail Delivery Group showed that nearly three out of four fear rail strikes will harm the economy with a third believing they could directly harm their businesses.

"Driver-only operation has been operating safely for 32 years and now accounts for over a third of the United Kingdom rail network".

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Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, said: "This decision leaves the RMT leadership completely isolated".

Members of the RMT have stopped work on Southern, South Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Northern and Merseyrail.

The dispute has spread to South Western Railway because the RMT is seeking assurances about working practices when a new fleet of suburban trains are introduced in 2019. Similarly, anti-social behaviour on trains could increase without the presence of a guard.

Staff on Southern, South Western Railway and Greater Anglia walked out on Wednesday and will continue their action on Thursday, November 9.

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Yesterday the rail network ground to a halt in the second 24 hour strike by drivers in the row over pay.

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