ASLEF drivers have rejected a proposed resolution to put an end to the long-running dispute with Southern, which has seen commuters in Eastbourne hit with strike action.
Nearly 52% of drivers voted against the plans to halt the row over the future of guards on driver-only trains.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said, “We understand and support the decision arrived at in a democratic vote by our drivers and will now seek new talks with the company and work to deliver a resolution to this dispute in line with the expectations of our members.”
Commenting on the result of the ASLEF referendum result, Andy Bindon of Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern’s parent company, said, "It's a hugely disappointing outcome for our passengers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the ASLEF leadership.
“We have shown a willingness and desire to find a solution to their dispute and we will now, once again, sit down with the union, understand the issues which led to this regrettable decision by the drivers and try and find a way forward to resolving it."
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash also commented, saying, “This ballot was entirely a matter for ASLEF and its members. However, the result reflects the continuing and deep seated concern amongst drivers and the wider workforce over the extension of DOO and the safety impact on passenger services.
"Southern Rail cannot jam their heads in the sand any longer. We are in talks with the company tomorrow and we now expect the fundamental issues at the heart of our guards' and drivers' disputes to be taken seriously.
"There's an easy solution to this long running industrial dispute and Southern Rail need to join with the unions in reaching an agreement that protects passengers and which recognises the safety critical issues our members have been fighting for over the past year."
The RMT Union is due to stage another strike on Saturday (8 April).