Unions to meet BR as drivers vote to strike: Aslef threatens to maximise train disruption

UNION leaders will today meet British Rail in an attempt to avert a second round of industrial action which yesterday received the backing of the network's 16,000 train drivers.

Announcing the strike ballot result, Derrick Fullick, general secretary of the Aslef drivers' union, said his members would join other rail workers in a 24-hour stoppage on Friday week, but warned of worse to come if BR refused to compromise.

Unless BR gave assurances over redundancies and drivers' employment conditions, his union could mount stoppages on separate days to maximise disruption, he indicated.

Mr Fullick said that 55 per cent of Aslef members had voted for a rolling programme of day-long strikes in a 67 per cent turnout. He rejected suggestions that the majority in favour of industrial action in the postal ballot was disappointing. 'After all, only a minority of people voted for the Conservative Government,' he said.

Jimmy Knapp, leader of RMT, the biggest rail union, said he would be presenting a peace formula to today's meeting. 'There is still a mountain to climb, but if they are serious about negotiating an end to the dispute we believe there is a means of doing it without creating a precedent.'

BR has said that RMT's call for an assurance that there would be no compulsory redundancies amounted to a 'jobs for life' guarantee.

Senior RMT officials said the wording of a deal struck in 1984 had already laid down those assurances, but they had been lost subsequently during a reorganisation of the bargaining structure. The officials argue that restoring the 'meaning and intent' of that agreement would be sufficient to achieve a settlement.

RMT is seeking a commitment that management would attempt to find alternative employment within BR for those whose jobs were deemed to be redundant. 'We are not looking for a guarantee that everyone stays in the same job,' RMT officers said.

Paul Watkinson, BR's director of personnel, described the vote by Aslef members as a 'double blow' for the railway and its customers: 'We have already given Aslef a number of assurances,' he said. Today's meeting had been called in an attempt to find a way through the dispute. 'We certainly can't afford another damaging strike,' he said.

BR estimated that last Friday's stoppage, involving 68,000 members of RMT and 3,000 maintenance workers belonging to the AEEU engineering and electrical union cost it pounds 10m.

Mr Fullick said his union was normally used to 'abuse' from commuters over industrial action. 'In this case the reverse has applied. People have been ringing us saying that our campaign against rail cuts was fine, but when are we going to do something? They realise that there but for the grace of God go I' He hoped today's meeting would resolve the dispute. 'We don't want a strike and I'm sure nobody else does.'

London bus workers are also expected to mount a 24-hour strike on Friday week and leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers are today expected to follow suit.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power