Southern train drivers to strike in late January

A Southern train
A Southern train
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Southern train drivers are set to strike for three days in late January.

This morning it was announced that union ASLEF was halving a walkout due to start on Monday (January 9) from six days to three in its dispute with rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway over plans to introduce driver-only operation on Southern services.

These strikes are due to take place on Tuesday January 10, Wednesday January 11 and Friday January 13.

But now it has also announced walkouts on Tuesday January 24; Wednesday January 25 and Friday January 27.

No Southern services are expected to run on days that strikes occur, similar to three days in December when ASLEF members went on strike.

Mick Whelan, general secretary at ASLEF, said they were taking a ‘longer-term view of this trade dispute’.

He added: “The company has not been prepared to move – it is simply going through the motions, turning up at ACAS, as it did yesterday, and telling us that it intends to impose DOO [driver-only operation].

“We remain committed to a negotiated settlement, as was reached with ScotRail, but it is difficult to negotiate with people who are not prepared to be flexible.

“We still believe a deal can be done but we are, at the moment, a long way from that position. It is time for the company to come up with a genuine offer rather than carry on posturing.”

But a spokesman for Southern said: “This is a cynical ploy to minimise the impact on ASLEF’s drivers’ pay packets and maximises misery, disruption and hardship for passengers.

“ASLEF’s move shows pure contempt for the travelling public and it still causes massive disruption over next week.

“These strikes are pointless and they should call the whole thing off and let common sense prevail.”

Both ASLEF and the RMT union, which represents conductors due to be moved to the role of on-board supervisors, have objected to the changes on safety grounds, raising concerns about the loss of a second safety critical member of staff on trains.

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