Aslef overtime ban


I’m exasperated with ASLEF, who have once again threatened an indefinite overtime ban on Southern. This will mean that, from Thursday 29th June, hundreds of trains a day will be cancelled or delayed, resulting in huge disruption for Southern’s 300,000 plus passengers.

While Southern of course still has its problems, this latest action in the long-running Driver Controlled Operation dispute flies in the face of reason. Elsewhere on the network, ASLEF drivers have accepted a deal on Driver Controlled Operations and pay, so I am frankly at a loss as to why they can accept the deal in one place and not another.

The proposed action is completely disproportionate. Drivers were offered a pay rise by Southern equivalent to an increase of nearly 24% over four years. It would have seen basic salaries for a 35 hour, four day week rise from £49,001 to £60,683. Most drivers work a regular fifth day as overtime for an extra 25% pay, meaning under the new salaries, they would receive an extra £15,000, taking potential salaries to £75,000.

Passengers are beginning to see some of the benefits from the improvements that have been made, including: changing operational leadership at the end of last year; bringing together the day to day management of the track and the trains on the route, and starting a £300m programme of upgrade works to track and signals. Day to day performance has been getting steadily better and promising further dramatic improvement. ASLEF’s actions directly put this at risk.

By not accepting this deal, ASLEF have yet again chosen a path which prolongs misery for passengers.