RMT Urges ASLEF Members to Reject Southern Deal

Say drivers would be selling out their workmates for 28.5% pay rise

The RMT is attempting to scupper the deal reached between ASLEF and train operator Govia Thameslink Railway, the parent company of Southern Rail over the issue of guards describing the arrangement as ‘tainted and divisive’.

ASLEF is to ballot their members about the proposed resolution to the long-running industrial dispute with a recommendation from the union’s executive to accept. The deal gives drivers a 28.5% increase over a five year period in a structured deal which will see them through to the end of the current franchise. This would equate to an extra £14,000 per annum. The deal requires a second safety-trained person to be on every train except in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said, ‘This proposed agreement has the full support of the negotiating team, and ASLEF’s executive committee. This is, we think, a complete resolution of our long-standing issues with Southern but it is, I must stress, company-specific and does not have implications for any other company on the railway network.’

The RMT have described the deal as a sell out and claim it means that drivers are being forced to make a choice between a £14000 pay rise and their workmates, the principles of rail safety and the access rights of disabled passengers.

Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT said, “This is a company deal that clearly gives the whip hand to the bosses. It’s a deal that affects our members’ jobs and terms and conditions, but we have been omitted from negotiations. We must do all we can to ensure it is rejected. Drivers and Guards have been sold out, passengers have been sold out, and disabled passengers have been sold out.”

The RMT were excluded from the negotiations between ASLEF and management and they say that what has been agreed is worse than previous deals that have already been rejected. They also say that that their concerns about driver only operated trains (DOO) have been ignored and a ‘sweetener’ has been offered to persuade drivers to accept the changes.

DOO trains operate on other networks across the UK and research suggests there has been no increase in accidents as a result.

Ballot papers and the associated briefing documents will go to members on Tuesday 24 October and the result of the referendum will be announced on Wednesday 8 November.

October 24, 2017