England

Southern rail: Aslef members reject latest proposed deal

Southern logo Image copyright EPA
Image caption Members voted by 372 votes (51.8%) to 346 (48.2%) against the proposed deal

Members of the Aslef union have rejected a deal aimed at ending the long-running dispute over driver-only operated trains on Southern railway.

Members voted by 372 votes (51.8%) to 346 (48.2%) against the proposed deal.

General secretary Mick Whelan said: "We understand and support the decision arrived at in a democratic vote."

Govia Thameslink Railway said it was "hugely disappointing" as the agreement had "the full support and recommendation" of Aslef leaders.

"We have shown a willingness and desire to find a solution to their dispute and we will now, once again, sit down with the union, understand the issues which led to this regrettable decision by the drivers and try and find a way forward to resolving it," spokesman Andy Bindon said.

Year-long dispute

Mr Whelan said the drivers' union would now "seek new talks and work to deliver a resolution in line with the expectations of members".

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Aslef members voted on a second deal after members rejected initial proposals in February.

They threw out the initial deal by a majority of 54.1% after 11 days of talks between the rail operator and the union.

Southern remains in a year-long dispute on the issue with the RMT union, which represents guards on Southern trains.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Members of the drivers' union Aslef have now rejected two proposed deals

The firm's plan for guards to become on-board supervisors, leaving drivers with the responsibility of opening and closing carriage doors was initially opposed by the RMT union last April.

Leader Mick Cash said the move reduced the safety of passengers and staff on board trains and urged Southern rail to put "safety before profits".

Industrial action began in April 2016, and Aslef members joined the picket in December.

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