RMT accuses ASLEF of “shocking and historical betrayal”

21466_Southern-Rail-trainThe RMT has accused ASLEF of a “shocking and historical betrayal” after the train drivers’ union signed a deal with Southern Rail over driver-only trains.

The two unions have been in dispute with Southern over the issue, saying having just one worker on board – leaving the driver to open and close the doors – was risking passenger safety. union-news.co.uk understands the deal maintains a second worker on board, but passes responsibility to the doors to the driver.

ASLEF members are currently being balloted on whether or not to accept the deal, with general secretary Mick Whelan saying: “I welcome this agreement which is a significant step forward in addressing the safety concerns of ASLEF members on Southern Rail.

ASLEF has never been against changes to working methods. Rather we believe any changes should be negotiated through agreed procedures. I am confident this this deal can provide a safer and appropriately staffed railway for passengers on Southern Rail and I will be recommending it to our members.”

But the RMT has criticised the deal, with general secretary Mick Cash saying: “This so-called agreement is a shocking and historical betrayal presided over by the TUC of not only the conductor grade and drivers , but also passengers, including disabled passengers, who have lost the guarantee of a second member of staff on their trains.

“This abysmal document lists a whole host of areas where a a train can leave without a second member of staff that will leave both the driver and passengers exposed and vulnerable and  which also  represents a thin end of the wedge that will lead to the destaffing of trains.

“Loyal and dedicated conductors, who have fought for safety for over a year have had the legs kicked from under them by those who are supposed to be on their side. Passengers and staff alike have been sold out by a stitch up cooked up in Congress House by the TUC and the bosses whilst Southern,  one of the most anti union and hated companies of recent times, is laughing all the way to the bank and have been given a free run to rip up the safety rule book in the name of profits.

“This is not a deal it is a disgrace and the RMT dispute remains on and we will fight this shocking betrayal with every tool at our disposal. We remain available for talks.”

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