COUNTY NEWS: Southern Rail drivers to ballot on strike action

Southern Rail drivers are set to vote on industrial action after talks at head office broke down on Monday, union ASLEF has announced.

The news comes as Southern conductors belonging to the RMT union continue to strike over changes to conductor roles, with services across Sussex curtailed until midnight on Thursday.

Southern wants to implement a driver-only operated door system used elsewhere by parent company Govia Thameslink and run trains without a second member of staff when a conductor is not available.

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General secretary for ASLEF Mick Whelan said the union had ‘genuinely sought’ to reach a compromise with the rail operator.

He said: “We have always been prepared to talk to the company, and we have always been of the view that it is, or should be, possible to do a deal – as we did with ScotRail – but it takes two to tango and the company has not been prepared to negotiate. “They want to impose, not to discuss. They have dug in their heels and forced us to ballot our members.”

“Our trade dispute with the company is that there should be no introduction and/or extension of new driver-only operated routes on Southern without the agreement of ASLEF.”

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