Posted 15th February 2017 | 1 Comment
New Southern walkout next week
A NEW strike has been called on Southern for 22 February, following the breakdown of talks over DOO between the RMT and Govia Thameslink Railway yesterday (Tuesday). Both sides blamed the other, with Southern's owner GTR calling the RMT ‘obstinate’ while the RMT accused the company of having a ‘pig-headed attitude’.
The walkout will involve former conductors, who are now mostly on-board supervisors, and around a dozen drivers who are members of the RMT. The controversial driver-only operation deal, which was agreed with ASLEF in principle at the TUC on 2 February, is currently being voted on by more than 900 ASLEF members.
It includes a list of ‘exceptional circumstances’ when a train lacking a supervisor may run with only a driver, and the RMT has been further angered by the discovery that these circumstances include industrial action.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “The abject failure by Southern Rail in yesterday’s talks to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action. These disputes could have been settled if Southern/GTR had listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.
“Instead they have shifted the goal posts even further and have now created a ‘strike breakers’ charter’ where one of the numerous new conditions where trains can run driver-only is during industrial action. That is simply scandalous and a measure of the betrayal of our members as a result of the TUC-brokered deal with Southern in the drivers’ dispute.
“The full detail of Southern’s plan is far worse than anyone could have anticipated. This is dire news, not just for staff, but for passengers who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service. RMT will not walk away from the fight for a railway that puts public safety before private profit."
GTR chief operating officer Nick Brown said: "We are disappointed that the RMT is going to heap yet further misery and disruption on the travelling public. We aim to run as full a service as we can."
The result of the ASLEF referendum, in which drivers are being asked to approve the deal agreed at the TUC, is due tomorrow.
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