Industrial action on Southern

10 January 2017

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, spoke out today after the first of three days of strikes by drivers on Southern Railways.

Mick said: ‘We greatly regret the industrial action we have taken on Southern Railways today .We don’t want to inconvenience passengers, nor do our members want to lose money, because we want to help build a better railway for Britain. But we have been forced to go on strike by an intransigent management that has not been prepared to negotiate with us. Southern are bullies. Throughout this dispute, from when they first announced their intentions ten months ago, they have tried to force through changes in the terms and conditions of staff by tearing up agreements rather than by negotiating.

‘In contrast, we stick to deals we have made and have always been willing to negotiate when someone shows goodwill; that is how we managed to strike a deal last year with ScotRail which works well for the company, the passengers and the staff. So it can be done!

‘We still hope that Southern will see sense and sit down with us and talk about how we can move forward in away which works for passengers, for staff, and, yes, for the company, too. Our door is, and has always been, open.

‘It’s now up to the company, and the government, to be flexible and to end the misery of commuters. The ball is in their court.’

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