Lewes MP: Suspending strike action ‘sign of goodwill’ by Southern train drivers

Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, at Lewes Railway Station (photo submitted/ by Nick Robinson). SUS-150728-140612001
Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, at Lewes Railway Station (photo submitted/ by Nick Robinson). SUS-150728-140612001

The suspension of strike action by Southern train drivers has been welcomed as a ‘sign of goodwill’ by Lewes’ MP.

Union ASLEF was due to hold walkouts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of next week as part of its dispute with Govia Thameslink Railway over its plans to extend driver-only operation to Southern services.

But today (Tuesday January 17) the union agreed to suspend the strikes after rail bosses agreed to talks co-chaired by Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), and Andy Meadows, HR director at Abellio UK.

The move was welcomed by both Lewes MP Maria Caulfield and Wealden MP Nus Ghani, who said on Twitter: “Welcome ASLEF suspending next week’s strike & ban on overtime working for talks with GTR next week. Urge RMT to cancel Monday’s strike too.”

Ms Caulfield added: “Of course I am delighted that ASLEF have agreed to enter talks with Southern, and I commend the decision to have TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and Rail Industry HR expert Andy Meadows jointly chair the talks.

“I welcome that in a sign of goodwill ASLEF have suspended next week’s industrial action including the ban on overtime working, which will come as respite to many thousands of my constituents who are continuing to struggle with this appalling lack of a rail service.

“I won’t be alone in recognising, however, that the performance on the Southern Railway has been depressingly poor for over 18 months, and it is absolutely vital that this is tackled.”

“For that reason, and in support of my constituents, I have therefore secured an adjournment debate this Friday, when this issue can again be raised with ministers.”

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