This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 01/06/2017.
ASLEF suspends Southern Rail overtime ban to allow for fresh talks
The ASLEF Union has announced it has suspended a planned overtime ban for train drivers on Southern Rail services – which was due to start this weekend.
The union, which represents more than 950 of Southern Rail’s drivers, says the delay in industrial action will allow time for fresh talks to find a resolution over the long-running dispute on the train-operating company’s controversial decision to bring in driver-only operated (DOO) trains.
Members had been instructed by ASLEF to carry out an “indefinite” overtime ban from Sunday, June 4.
The industrial action was seen as leverage by the union who fear Southern’s DOO trains will jeopardise the safety of passengers and put pressure on train drivers.
ASLEF says it will sit down with Southern “in parallel, but separate, talks to try to resolve a range of issues”.
These are said to include drivers’ terms and conditions, industrial relations as well as pay.
Mick Whelan, who is the general secretary of ASLEF, said: “We met Southern today (Thursday, June 1), ahead of our overtime ban, which was due to start on Sunday.
“Industrial action is always the last resort; we would much rather talk, and negotiate, than take industrial action.
“The company has indicated that it is prepared to negotiate with us on a range of outstanding issues and, therefore, we have suspended our overtime ban.
“We now have a fortnight to try and find a resolution which will work for passengers, for staff, and for the company, too.”
Responding to ASLEF decision to suspend the drivers’ overtime ban Nick Brown, who is the chief operating officer of Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We are pleased that ASLEF has suspended the drivers’ overtime ban that was due to start this Sunday.
“This will allow talks to continue, on a wide range of issues including pay.
“We aim to continue to find a way forward over the next few weeks and finally bring matters to a conclusion.”