Southern strikes: union votes to accept resolution

Southern strikes: union votes to accept resolution

The agreement between the train drivers' union, ASLEF, and Southern's parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), was approved by 79 per cent to 21 per cent, with a turn-out of 87 per cent.

"We now look forward to working with Southern Rail to restore good industrial relations and deliver the service passengers in the region deserve".

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT Union, said: "These strikes are about rail safety and accessibility pure and simple".

He said money should first be spent on safety, increasing line speed and buying more carriages to improve the service and respond to climate change.

"Our trains will be planned to have a second person on board and this has been the arrangement we have operated over the past year".

Commuters were set to suffer what was billed as the "biggest disruption" in decades today after workers from five rail operators took action, but the Transport Department has dismissed the claim saying the "majority of services" are running as normal.

The RMT's general secretary has said the result didn't change the campaign his union is now running, blasting the deal as "shoddy".

"Driver-only operation has been operating safely for 32 years and now accounts for over a third of the United Kingdom rail network".

A survey of over 1,000 businesses for the Rail Delivery Group showed that nearly three out of four fear rail strikes will harm the economy with a third believing they could directly harm their businesses.

The row is over the introduction of new suburban trains which the union says are unsafe. "Only this week at the Wimbledon derailment it was the guard on that train who safely evacuated 300 passengers in an emergency situation".

SWR: The company, which only took over the franchise from South West Trains in August, plans to run two thirds of its regular timetabled 1,700 services.

Merseyrail: Most services will run between 7am and 7pm, but there will be a break in service during the middle of the day, and some stations will be closed.

The Office of Rail and Road has said of driver-only operation: "Our inspectors are satisfied that with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of working".