Conference votes to extend SWT strike

05 June 2006

The dispute between train drivers’ union ASLEF and South West Trains will be stepped up in the coming month. Delegates at the union’s conference in Scarborough resolved today to ballot all members who work for the company for industrial action.

 

Until now only trains out of Waterloo have been affected by the action, which concerns the breaking of a local agreement about the use of taxis to get drivers to work.

 

ASLEF members at Waterloo took two days industrial action last week and a further two days strikes are planned for Tuesday and Thursday this week.

 

The escalation of the dispute comes because of union anger at trainers and managers taking out trains to break the strike.

 

‘There are clear rules for times managers will drive trains – and they have been broken,’ says General Secretary Keith Norman. ‘The dispute began because management arbitrarily withdrew a local agreement to provide transport to work for our members. Now they have escalated it by breaking a further agreement. It is industrial relations folly.’

 

Delegates condemned this ‘blatant use of managers for strike-breaking’. There are agreed conditions for managers driving trains, which are basically because of health, safety or the threat of civil unrest.

 

‘Delegates today expressed real safety concerns,’ Keith Norman said. ‘Certain managers have been seen to drive excessively long shifts without proper breaks. One manager who has not driven a train in a decade has been identified as strike breaking in this dispute.’

 

Ballot papers will be issued over the coming weeks, and the escalation is likely to disrupt rail journeys into London in July.

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