Responding to the publication of the Report by The HM Chief Inspector of Railways, Charles Horton, Chief Executive of GTR, Southern’s parent company, said:
“The independent rail regulator carried out a full and comprehensive review, including a thorough risk assessment, of our plans to implement driver-controlled trains on new routes on the Southern network. We warmly welcome their robust report which confirms that our roll-out programme is safe. Passenger safety is our number one priority and we are committed to further continuous improvement in that regard. The regulator has made a number of recommendations for further improvement which we accept and will action as soon as possible.
“Today, a third of all trains on the UK rail network run with the driver in sole control. The RSSB and now the ORR has confirmed that this is a safe method of operation and the unions must now acknowledge that they have no credible argument that it’s an unsafe method of operation Because of their unjustified and pointless industrial action, the travelling public have faced months of misery and hardship to their work and family lives for no substantive reason. The RMT and ASLEF are being wholly unreasonable and they are abusing their trade union powers to call strikes.
GTR also confirmed today that it had written to ASLEF earlier this week setting out a formal offer, made to the union at ACAS on Tuesday, to settle their dispute. The key points of the offer are:
- An upgrade programme to enhance in cab CCTV system in place on the earlier variant Cl 377 rolling stock
- No further extension of DOO beyond that already delivered without the agreement of ASLEF
- An indemnity package to be put in place to support drivers who have operational incidents, subject to the problems not being a result of negligence or gross misconduct
- GTR will develop a programme to proactively support Driver job security
- The Company will re-establish the DOO Joint Working Party to monitor any agreed proposals
GTR says that it has not yet received a formal response to their offer from ASLEF.
“The ball is now in the unions’ court. This futile industrial action must come to an end. It’s time for both sets of union members, to tell their RMT and ASLEF leadership in the strongest terms that it’s time to call an end to all this. They voted for the original strike action and they have the voice to bring it to an end”.