Socialist Worker

Reject this unsafe and divisive Southern rail deal

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2577

A previous picket line in the dispute

A previous picket line in the dispute (Pic: Jess Hurd)

Train drivers’ union Aslef has recommended a deal to its members to end their long-running dispute with Southern rail.

The new deal would mean a 28 percent pay rise over five years and the promise of a second safety trained person on board—except in “exceptional circumstances”.

Govia Thameslink Railways owns the Southern rail franchise and bosses there have left a very broad remit about what “exceptional circumstances” mean.

It includes trains running late, or staff being late or ill. That means the guarantee is worthless.


Aslef members have twice thrown out deals in February and April that would have ended their dispute—and should do so again.

This one does not fully protect a second safety-trained member of staff

It lets bosses take the guard off the train in situations that are not exceptional but are part of the normal running of the service.

Accepting the deal also means abandoning the RMT union members who are in a major battle with Southern.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said, “Once again RMT has been excluded from these negotiations.

“From what we have seen so far, this is exactly the sort of deal that Southern and Tory transport secretary Chris Grayling have been hoping for—and which drivers and guards have been fighting.

“You cannot put a price on the safety and welfare of passengers and drivers.”

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