Southern rail row flares up again: Now Aslef drivers gear up for overtime ban as fresh talks break down

 
Rebecca Smith
Southern rail services have been repeatedly disrupted by industrial action in the long-running row
Southern rail services have been repeatedly disrupted by industrial action in the long-running row (Source: Getty)

The long-running row over the role of the guard on Southern rail has been reignited as train drivers' union Aslef has announced an overtime ban starting on 4 June.

It had been engaged in fresh talks with the train operator after two peace deals the union had agreed were rejected by its members. But these talks have now broken down and drivers on Southern rail are refusing to work overtime at the beginning of June, causing more disruption to services.

Aslef said its members had voted for strike action and action short of a strike, so it had called the overtime ban.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: "We have been talking to Southern to try and resolve the outstanding issues in a way which works for drivers, passengers, and the company. Unfortunately, the company has refused to move its position so we have, reluctantly, informed them that our members will refuse to work overtime from the end of this month."

Nick Brown, chief operating officer at Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

“After over five months of intense negotiations and two peace deals agreed and recommended by the Aslef executive, we are dismayed the union leadership is taking this action, which is designed to impact as many of our passengers as possible."

We have worked our hardest to resolve this dispute with Aslef. If this action does go ahead we will run as full a timetable as possible. We will be working around the clock to evaluate the impact and develop contingency plans which will be advertised as soon as possible.

Last month, Aslef members rejected a deal put to a referendum, which would have brought an end to the dispute. At the time, Aslef's general secretary said the union would "work to deliver a resolution to this dispute in line with the expectations of our members".

It comes off the back of news that the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is holding 24-hour strikes across Southern, Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail on Tuesday 30 May, in the row over so-called driver only operation on trains.

The RMT's general secretary Mick Cash, said the union's members had been "fighting for safety and access to rail services for over a year now".

He has called on Southern to "engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues".

Read more: The RMT plans fresh strikes in ongoing row over driver only operation

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