High Court: ASLEF and Southern Railways

08 December 2016

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, hailed victory in the High Court this afternoon after the judge, Sir Michael Burton, turned down GTR’s bid for an injunction against our industrial action on Southern Railways.

Mick said: ‘What a waste of money! Southern, Britain’s worst private train company, has wasted shareholders’ money, passengers’ money and taxpayers’ money– because the company has been handsomely subsidised by the Conservative government – on a case it was always going to lose.

‘Now the company should do the right thing and sit down with us and negotiate – properly, sensibly and in good faith – to do a deal for the benefit of passengers, staff and, yes, the company. Just like ScotRail did with us earlier this year.

‘Because we have done our best to try and reach a sensible and workable compromise with Southern in the interests of passengers and management as well as of staff. We have always been happy to talk, and we have always believed it is, or should be, possible to do a deal – as we did with ScotRail –­ but it takes two to tango and the company,encouraged by the Department for Transport, has not been prepared to negotiate with us.’

Mick added: ‘Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, said this strike was political.A line which has been parroted by GTR. But it’s not. It’s industrial. The only people who have been playing politics here are Chris Grayling, Peter Wilkinson at the DfT, and GTR.

‘DOO is inherently unsafe. The company – which cares only about profit, not about passengers – knows, as we know, that there are serious problems with the platform/train interface. It has been our policy for more than 15 years to try to eradicate driver only operation.

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

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

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