By Raymie Kiernan
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2546

Transport round up: Drivers should derail the shoddy deal on Southern

This article is over 5 years, 4 months old
Issue 2546
Drivers in the Aslef union staged six walkouts last December and this January
Drivers in the Aslef union staged six walkouts last December and this January (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Southern Rail train drivers will be balloted on a new deal agreed between their Aslef union leaders and bosses at Govia Thameslink Railway.

As with a previous deal, which union members rejected, it accepts extending driver only operation (DOO) that removes train guards.

This has serious implications for passenger safety—and is against the union’s official position.

Martin, a Southern driver in Aslef, thinks the deal is “still not good enough”.

How runaway train profits derail safety
How runaway train profits derail safety
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He was one of the 54 percent of members that rejected the last shoddy deal recommended by the union leadership.

Martin said, “The consensus at the branch meeting was to reject and force them back into talks.”

He pointed out that the deal “does not address the safety concerns the general secretary has stated in every press appearance prior to the first offer.


“It’s nothing but a capitulation—now is the time to resist it.”

Drivers will vote on the deal in a ballot ending on 3 April. They can and should strike alongside RMT union members who are fighting Southern too.

The RMT has announced that its members on Southern, guards and drivers, will walk out again on Tuesday 4 April.

But it was also considering a new offer of talks.

And workers in the RMT on Southern, Merseyrail and Northern are set to strike again on 8 April.


Train guard Martin Zee was last week unanimously cleared of all charges relating to an accident at Merseyside’s Hamilton Square Station in July 2015.

The case against the RMT union member and Merseyrail guard took almost two years to get to trial.

The Crown Prosecution Service was widely criticised for bringing the case.

Investigations by both Merseyrail and the Office of Rail Regulators found no further action needed to be taken against Zee.

Strike at the Tube station at midnight by new drivers

Night Tube drivers plan strikes next month to force London Underground (LU) bosses to allow them to apply for full time positions.

Drivers on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines will walk out for 12 hours from 8.30pm on 8 and 29 April.

The Night Tube drivers are prevented from moving into full time positions for at least 18 months.

But all other LU workers, including part time Night Tube station staff, are eligible to apply for vacant full time positions.

Finn Brennan, the Aslef union district organiser, said, “LU pushed through the recruitment of part time staff to operate Night Tube.

“That’s because they weren’t prepared to find a fair way to roster the work with full time staff.”

British Airways bosses agree to talks

After months of strikes against poverty pay by British Airways (BA) mixed fleet cabin crew, bosses have agreed to hold talks with their union, Unite.

BA bosses accepted an invitation from the Acas conciliation service last week under mounting pressure.

Each walkout meant dozens of flights had to be farmed out to other firms at £60,000 a go.

With bosses on the back foot, more action could press home workers’ advantage.

The crew are reballoting so they can renew their mandate to strike as soon as it expires.

They will broaden their demands to include the restoration of bonuses that bosses snatched away to punish them for striking.

The workers’ online forum is abuzz with posts from mixed fleet crew voting yes—and other BA workers encouraging them.

Balloting other fleets for strikes could transform the dispute.

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