Posted 6th February 2017 | 7 Comments
ASLEF DOO settlement 'a disgrace' says RMT
THE implications of the settlement between ASLEF and Govia Thameslink Railway over Southern DOO are emerging in the wake of Thursday's announcement, with the RMT angered by the details, which were not released immediately. There are also reports that some ASLEF drivers will oppose the deal.
Most of the original Southern plan has been preserved, including moving the responsibility for the doors and train dispatch to drivers. A second member of staff will normally be carried on each train, but not necessarily with specific route knowledge.
The provision that trains would be able to run with only a driver in 'exceptional circumstances' has also been maintained. This would apply in cases of absence or illness, or if the on-board supervisor had been obliged to leave a train en route to deal with an emergency, such as a passenger taken ill.
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said the result was 'no utopia' but it had established important principles, including an undertaking that further operational changes would need the consent of drivers. He added: "“People forget the original dispute was about imposition.”
However, Mick Cash of the RMT, whose union had been excluded from the talks with ASLEF at the TUC, described the deal as a 'disgrace'.
He said: "This so-called agreement is a shocking betrayal presided over by the TUC of not only the conductor grade and drivers, but also passengers, including disabled passengers, who have lost the guarantee of a second member of staff on their trains.
"This abysmal document lists a whole host of areas where a train can leave without a second member of staff, that will leave both the driver and passengers exposed and vulnerable, and which also represents a thin end of the wedge that will lead to the de-staffing of trains.
"Loyal and dedicated conductors, who have fought for safety for over a year, have had the legs kicked from under them by those who are supposed to be on their side.
"Passengers and staff alike have been sold out by a stitch-up cooked up in Congress House by the TUC and the bosses whilst Southern, one of the most anti-union and hated companies of recent times, is laughing all the way to the bank and have been given a free run to rip up the safety rulebook in the name of profits.
"This is not a deal, it is a disgrace, and the RMT dispute remains on."
The RMT has now been invited to fresh tralks. Transport secretary Chris Grayling told the BBC: "I hope that’s a way forward for the future, and I very much hope now that the RMT will come back to the table and will sort out an arrangement that looks after its own members.”
He added: “I don’t believe we need fewer people on the railways – a railway bursting at the seams will not mean fewer jobs. We’re going to need as many staff in the future – the jobs may change, the technology may change, but the customer service piece can’t change.”
ASLEF members on Southern are now receiving ballot papers so that they can vote for or against the proposed deal. The result of the referendum is expected on 16 February.
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