A new agreement between Southern rail and drivers’ union ASLEF over the driver only operation of trains has been described by the RMT union as ‘the old deal in a new envelope’.
GTR, parent company of Southern, and ASLEF announced that they have reached new terms to settle their dispute, following ASLEF members’ rejection of an earlier deal.
Southern runs services from London's Victoria Station
The new agreement will also be put to ASLEF members at Southern in a referendum, with a recommendation from the union’s executive committee to accept.
ASLEF said that, subject to securing the support of members, the dispute between the union and Southern will be over.
General secretary Mick Whelan 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, human resources director of GTR, said: ‘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.’
However, the RMT union, which represents staff moved from jobs as conductors (guards) to new roles as on board supervisors, criticised the new agreement.
General secretary Mick Cash said; ‘We have now had a chance to look at the detail and this is basically the old deal in a new envelope and RMT does not believe for a moment that drivers and guards will be hoodwinked.
’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.’
Separately, RMT Night Tube drivers have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over 'a block on career progression which has been imposed by London Underground'.
Members voted by over 96% for strike action and by over 98% for action short of a strike.
ASLEF is also balloting its members for strikes, with the result due on Thursday.