Court of appeal

12 December 2016

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, spoke out after the Court of Appeal turned down an application from GTR today to overturn the High Court’s refusal to grant an injunction against our industrial action on Southern Railways.

After Lord Justice Elias,sitting with Lord Justice Lewison and Lord Justice Lloyd Jones, backed the union's right to take lawful industrial action, Mick said:

‘Industrial action is always the last resort. We don’t want to inconvenience the travelling public, and our members don’t want to lose money. We are going on strike because we have been forced into this position by an intransigent management that has not been prepared to negotiate with us.

‘Even now, all we want is for the company to sit down with us and negotiate – properly, sensibly and in good faith, not to simply restate their old entrenched position – and do a deal for the benefit of passengers, staff and, of course, the company. Like ScotRail did with us earlier this year.’

Mick added:‘Chris Grayling says this strike is political. It isn’t. It’s industrial. The only people who have been playing politics here are Chris Grayling, Peter Wilkinson at the DfT, and GTR.

‘Passengers don’t want driver only operation. They want a guard on every train. Because they know that DOO is inherently unsafe. The company– which cares only about profit, not about passengers – knows, as we know, thatthere are serious problems with the platform/train interface.

‘DOO is old, not new,technology, designed for four-car 317s on the Bedford to St Pancras line in theearly 1980s at the fag end of British Rail when everything was about managed decline.

‘We have seen an increase n the number of passengers we are carrying on the railway every day. We now have 1,100 passengers on a 12 car train and, under DOO, just two seconds to check 24 sets of doors. That is simply not adequate time to deal safely and properly, with the travelling public.’

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