Southern Rail and Aslef union reach deal to end strike-dispute over driver-only trains

Passengers have suffered months of disruption as a result of industrial action and staff shortages

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 02 February 2017 16:40
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Commuters queue to take a train to Gatwick as strike action affects service at Victoria station in London
Commuters queue to take a train to Gatwick as strike action affects service at Victoria station in London

A deal has been agreed between Southern Rail and the Aslef union to end a bitter dispute over driver-only trains.

The two sides had been holding lengthy talks in a bid to resolve a long-running row which sparked a series of strikes.

Around 1,000 drivers will now vote on the deal.

Passengers have suffered months of disruption as a result of industrial action and staff shortages.

Southern Rail strike: Why are they striking?

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, and Andy Meadows, of rail firm Abellio, who chaired the talks, said: "The negotiators from both sides have worked hard and co-operatively to achieve this breakthrough.

"This long-running dispute has clearly been extraordinarily difficult for both staff and passengers, and we are glad that the parties have reached agreement on a way forward."

Ms O'Grady added: "I welcome the decision of Aslef to consult its members on the new offer that has now been made by GTR Southern. The TUC is pleased that we were able to play a part in finding a positive way forward."

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: "I am pleased that we have finally been able to reach an agreement with the company which reflects the concerns of train drivers. I believe this deal can deliver a safer and appropriately staffed railway for passengers on Southern rail and I will be recommending it to Aslef members."

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Southern's owners Govia Thameslink Railway, said: "Our aim has always been to reach agreement with the unions on our proposals and we're delighted to have secured a deal today with Aslef to end their dispute.

"It's good news for passengers, the regional economy and staff. After the misery and disruption to people's work and family lives, we are pleased we can start to move forward and deliver a better railway for the travelling public."

Mr Brown added: "We are ready, willing and able to meet with the RMT."

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union is still in dispute with Southern over changes to the role of conductors.

The RMT announced it is to ballot workers on Merseyrail for industrial action over the role of guards.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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