LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Train drivers’ union ASLEF has agreed a new deal to end a long-running dispute over train staffing on Britain’s Southern rail, the rail operator’s parent company said on Wednesday.
ASLEF members, who rejected a previous deal last month, must now decide whether to accept the latest deal.
Strikes over the dispute about whose job it should be to open and close train doors have paralysed services in southern England for months and caused travel chaos for millions of commuters.
“This agreement has the full support of the negotiating team and the executive committee, and offers solutions to our concerns, as well as restoring the confidence of all parties, and the travelling public,” ASLEF’s General Secretary Mick Whelan said.
ASLEF said it would announce the result of members’ vote on the deal on April 3. Unions insist safety is the main issue, but management say driver-operated doors are safe.
“It’s been an extraordinarily difficult period for passengers, staff and the regional economy and we are glad we’ve found a way to move forward together,” Andy Bindon, a director of Southern’s parent, Govia Thameslink Railway, said.
The talks do not involve RMT, which represents train workers and disrupted Southern services on Monday with more strike action over the train door issue. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Susan Fenton)