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Now Aslef's balloting Southern Rail drivers for industrial action

Rebecca Smith
No light at the end of the tunnel for Southern commuters just yet
No light at the end of the tunnel for Southern commuters just yet (Source: Getty)

The UK train drivers' union Aslef has announced that drivers on Southern Railway will be balloted for industrial action, after last-ditch talks came to nothing.

Talks were arranged at the union's head office yesterday, but the union said they "failed to resolve the problems at the heart of this dispute".

Read more: Southern Rail commuters had very British responses to today's train chaos

"We have genuinely sought to reach a compromise with Southern," said general secretary Mick Whelan. "We have always been prepared to talk to the company, and we have always been of the view that it is, or should be, possible to do a deal - as we did with Scot Rail - but it takes two to tango and the company has not been prepared to negotiate. They want to impose, not to discuss."

Aslef's dispute with Southern revolves around its belief that there should be no introduction or extension of new driver-only operated routes on Southern, without the agreement of the union.

Papers are due to go out on Friday 4 November, to be returned Friday 18 November.

It's the latest headache for Southern, after a prolonged dispute with the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has led to a series of strikes, with more lined up.

Read more: These commuters are so fed up with Southern they're taking legal action

Southern owner Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) called on the union to suspend strikes over the ongoing dispute concerning the role of the guard. It wanted the RMT to hold a referendum of its members to allow them to decide for themselves whether they wanted to accept its eight-point offer plus £2,000 lump sum per person.

But the RMT rebuffed the latest efforts with its latest three-day strike due to run until Thursday.

RMT's strike dates:

  • 00:01 Tuesday 18 October to 23:59 Thursday 20 October
  • 00:01 Thursday 3 November to 23:59 Saturday 5 November
  • 00:01 Thursday 3 November to 23:59 Saturday 5 November
  • 00:01 Tuesday 6 December to 23:59 Thursday 8 December

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