On 3 April rail drivers’ union Aslef announced that 52 per cent of its members on Southern Rail had rejected the latest deal it had recommended to resolve the dispute over removing guards on their trains.
The long running dispute between Aslef and the RMT and Govia Thameslink (GTR) Southern’s parent company, is over “Driver Only Operation” with its important implications for the safety of the travelling public as well as railworkers job security.
This is the second time in less than two months that Aslef members have placed solidarity with rival union RMT’s guards over allegiance to their own officials. But when will these bureaucrats understand that no means no?
It was reported on the BBC that the union would simply go back to the employers and seek another deal!
The danger is that as in so many disputes the officials will keep coming back with inadequate offers until the membership, fed up with the lack of progress, finally says yes. The only way to overcome this problem is for members of both unions on Southern Rail to demand the strikes are escalated and to elect a strike committee to take control over the dispute and force the bosses to accept a deal.
The dispute shows that the only way to put an end to the profit-motivated attacks on safety, pay and working conditions (not to mention the annual gouging of passengers with price hikes) is to fight in the unions and the Labour Party for the renationalisation under workers’ control not just of Southern Rail but the entire network.