RMT’s claims of ASLEF/Southern deal refuted by union and operator
ASLEF and Govia Thameslink Railway have denied claims from the RMT union that the two have agreed a deal regarding the continued dispute over Driver Only Operation (DOO) on Southern.
On August 30, RMT said it had written to Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling over the matter. The letter from RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Further to my letter of August 17 2017, where I requested that we both meet again, I am now hearing reports that a deal has been agreed with ASLEF and GTR regarding the Driver Only Operation dispute.
“Any deal reached with ASLEF will have had to be approved by yourself as you are directing this dispute and we understand you have agreed the deal.
“For our part, and I am sure for all train crew staff and passengers, the deal will be welcomed if it guarantees a second safety-critical member of staff on board every train.
“Whilst this latest development reinforces my belief in the need for a four-way meeting between RMT, ASLEF, GTR and the Government, I hope you agree that at the very least you and I should meet, as we had previously agreed to do following our last discussions.” In a statement, Cash said: “We cannot have a situation where RMT guards and driver members are being forced to take further industrial action on Southern while the company, with we assume the approval of the Transport Secretary, are off cutting reported deals which have a clear relevance to our dispute. That is a nonsense and reinforces RMT’s call for roundtable discussions.
“It is imperative that Mr Grayling and his contractors, GTR, give full disclosure to the deal that has been put together and engage with us in further face-to-face talks aimed at reaching a safe and sustainable solution to this longrunning dispute.”
ASLEF spokesman Keith Richmond told RAIL that no deal had been agreed, while General Secretary Mick Whelan said: “We would look at the responses of the other parties involved and then consider our position, which has been consistent due to the litigation and the associated decisions impacting on ASLEF.”
A Southern spokesman said: “Discussions with ASLEF are ongoing in relation to their dispute and we continue to work hard to reach a resolution. The position with the RMT is that we have made them a number of offers and met numerous times, but they continue to call unnecessary strike action and refuse to engage in meaningful talks to end their separate dispute.”