Hopes of a resolution to the long running industrial dispute on Southern trains have taken a further knock after members of drivers’ union ASLEF rejected a proposed deal.
ASLEF members voted by 54% to 46% against a deal negotiated between the union’s leaders and Southern's parent company GTR over driver only operation of trains.
General secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘We understand and support the decision arrived at democratically by our members and will now work to deliver a resolution in line with their expectations.’
Nick Brown, chief operating officer of GTR, said: ‘Naturally we’re saddened and hugely disappointed, as will be our passengers, with today’s decision by drivers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the ASLEF leadership.
‘We now need to understand the issues which led to this outcome and we’ll be seeking to meet with the union as soon as possible to see how we can agree a way forward.’
On Wednesday, talks between GTR and the RMT union broke down, raising the possibility of further strikes by RMT members.
The RMT mainly represents staff who have been transferred from being conductors (guards) to new roles as on-board supervisors (OBS) without responsibility for opening and closing doors.
Its dispute with GTR concerns the extent of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ under which Southern will run trains without an OBS and it had bitterly criticised ASLEF over the proposed deal.