Southern Rail Strike Suspended as Sides Agree to TUC Talks

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The Southern Rail train strike has been called off as both sides have agreed to TUC talks.

Both sides will meet on Wednesday under the joint chairmanship of the TUC and Abellio.  In a statement general secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady and Andy Meadows, HR director of Abellio said, “We are committed to finding a fair solution to this dispute. We are pleased the parties have agreed to meet for meaningful talks.”

As a result of the talks, Aslef has agreed to suspend the planned three days of strike action next week.

The dispute over driver-only trains together with Southern Rail mismanagement has seen passengers suffer throughout 2016.

Train Strike Suspended

Charles Horton, CEO of Govia Thameslink, Southern Rail’s owner, said, “We’ve always made clear our willingness to engage in meaningful talks with Aslef to find a route forward to end their dispute. So, together with our passengers and businesses, we warmly welcome their decision to suspend next week’s planned industrial action.

“This is an important and significant development for the travelling public and the regional economy, and our focus and efforts now will be on productive talks with the union and trying to find a solution and a way forward.

“We are grateful to Frances O’Grady and Andy Meadows for agreeing to chair jointly this important new round of talks and they have our unequivocal endorsement and support.”

Aslef’s general secretary Mick Whelan said, “I am today proposing a new process to try and find a resolution to our industrial dispute with Southern. We propose that Aslef and Southern engage in intensive talks under the auspices of the TUC, and as soon as possible. Given the implications of this dispute for the wider railway industry, I am also asking the secretary of state for transport to support this new process.

“Aslef believes that the best way to resolve the dispute at Southern is for all parties to engage in meaningful talks, without preconditions, aimed at finding an agreed way forward.”

No doubt Southern Rail passengers will be hoping for a lasting agreement.

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