The decision from the train driver’s union Aslef to strike could not be more disappointing or unnecessary.
The Driver Only Operated Door system that they claim to be protesting against is already in widespread use across the Govia Thameslink Railway network as well as the underground and on 30% of trains being operated nationwide.
The independent organisation the Rail Safety and Standards Board has found in its own research that there is “no increased risk” for driver only operated doors.
Combined with the strikes already planned by the RMT this will mean that in the run up to Christmas 9 days of travel will be affected. The RMT will be holding strikes in the three days leading up to Christmas (including Christmas Eve) while the driver’s union Aslef will strike on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the day after.
This is an incredibly vindictive act for the two unions to have orchestrated and I totally condemn these petty and baseless strikes.
I am calling on the RMT, Aslef and Govia Thameslink to work together to end this pointless additional misery.
I will also renew my calls on the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to strip Govia of the contract to run Southern when I meet with him tomorrow.