Southern rail drivers' overtime ban suspended

Southern worker on platform Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The bitter dispute has affected Southern rail passengers for over a year

A planned overtime ban on Southern railway by the drivers' union Aslef has been suspended to allow time for new talks, the union says.

Members were due to start the ban on Sunday as part of the long-running dispute over the introduction of driver-only-operated trains.

Mick Whelan, Aslef's general secretary, said the move came after a meeting with Southern earlier.

He said Southern had indicated it would discuss "a range of issues".

The union said it would discuss driver's terms and conditions, industrial relations and pay.

'Find a resolution'

Mr Whelan said: "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."

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Southern's parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, said: "We are pleased that Aslef has suspended the drivers' overtime ban.

"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."

The drivers' union has been in a year-long dispute with Southern and its parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) over the roles of train staff.

GTR replaced conductors with "on-board supervisors" to work across different services but without the responsibility of closing doors - which has switched to train drivers.

Talks between Southern and the RMT union over the change of roles of guards to on-board-supervisors were adjourned last month.

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