'Aslef accepted Southern Rail deal based on safety concerns, not pay', says general secretary

'Aslef accepted Southern Rail deal based on safety concerns, not pay', says general secretary

Aslef has held several strikes

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Aslef has made a deal with Southern Rail because of its position on the manning of trains, not pay, according to the general secretary of the train drivers' union.

Aslef drivers have accepted a Southern Rail deal which has ended a long-running dispute. It means Southern Rail must try to provide a second safety-trained person on what would otherwise be driver-only trains, and drivers will get a five-year pay increase worth 28.5%.

Julia Hartley-Brewer questioned general secretary of Aslef Mick Whelan about why a pay rise was part of the deal. He said: "Our members said that when you get a resolution we haven't had a pay rise for two years. We want pay sorted. We want our terms and conditions back which the company had ripped up 18 months ago."

Whelan also pointed out that the union had turned down previous deals "on the grounds of safety" and yet "we got accused of being greedy.

"The reason this deal went through was that we've moved massively from where the company's position was initially about the manning of trains to where were are now."

But he added it's "a compromise from the original position to where we are now." Julia questioned why he had reached a deal if he still thought trains were unsafe.

Whelan claims "it isn’t perfect but it’s a far better position than we were in" and "we're still going to campaign against" driver-only trains.

Whelan also claims two reports from the Independent Safety Regulator "never actually said [driver-only trains were] safe. It said it could be safe if we did certain things and those things weren't currently happening."

Listen to the full interview above