Pevensey’s MP has joined with the Home Secretary in expressing frustration over the lasted round of strike action on the trains,
With train drivers, represented by the union Aslef, opting to join the dispute over the introduction of Driver Only Operated trains on Southern Rail, Huw Merriman and Amber Rudd have condemned the action.
Huw said, “I find it absolutely incredible that ASLEF called this ballot in the first place. Their members already operate DOO trains across the UK rail network and have done so for over 30 years. Safety standards on the new DOO trains are the best they have ever been and there is clear evidence to prove this. Why does ASLEF now consider that, after 30 years, their drivers’ operating procedures are unsafe? If this is the case, why have they not balloted drivers across all the UK rail companies on this issue and why has the Rail Safety Regulator written to me this week to confirm his opinion that the practice is safe?
“This is utterly unfair on local rail users who have already endured years of travel misery and just want to be able to get to work. Our local businesses are suffering as is our local tourist industry. This strike action is totally selfish and unnecessary. I now call on Transport Ministers to reform the unions’ level of control over rail operators, the country’s rail infrastructure cannot be held to ransom by outdated working practices and political point scoring.”
Amber added, ““It is totally unacceptable that our local area and communities will suffer further strikes over driver only operated trains when they already run safely across much of the UK network, and when current staff will take home the same pay following the changes proposed by the train company.
“Southern’s plans, opposed by the unions, will lead to better journeys for passengers. I call on both sides to come together and bring an end to this miserable period of strikes and industrial action suffered by our constituents.”