RMT’s claims of ASLEF/South­ern deal re­futed by union and op­er­a­tor

Rail (UK) - - News -

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.”

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