“It is two weeks of my life I will by no means get again. However we lastly acquired there.”
Bizarrely, the bosses of each side stated precisely the identical factor to me once I interviewed them final week, moments after they’d announced a deal to resolve the worst of the Southern rail strikes.
Mick Whelan from Aslef and Nick Brown from GTR (Southern’s mum or dad firm) seemed shattered however happy with their settlement.
However was everybody cracking the champagne corks too quickly?
Aslef’s 1,000 or so drivers nonetheless must vote on the deal and there are potential indicators that they could simply kick it out.
I spoke to a few Southern’s practice drivers over the weekend and so they weren’t completely satisfied.
One wrote this to me: “GTR, ‘We’ll agree to hold on doing precisely what we wish.’ Aslef, ‘OK, we’ll conform to that then.'”
He went on: “I am very a lot of the opinion it will likely be a convincing ‘no’ vote (when members vote). The sensation is the union has bought us out.”
One other driver additionally stated that everybody he’d spoken to will vote no to the deal, once more saying that they felt let down and that the corporate had acquired away with it.
He even advised that a few of his colleagues may go away Aslef and be part of the RMT union as an alternative. The RMT remains to be in dispute with Southern over the identical subject and was vitriolic concerning the deal over the weekend.
True, that is simply the opinion of two drivers who’ve been chatting to their colleagues. However it suggests some anger at what they’re being requested to enroll to.
I perceive that there’s going to be a gathering in Brighton on Tuesday, the place Aslef reps will attempt to promote the deal to members. It is sure to be frosty.
All of this does not essentially imply that Aslef’s drivers will vote in opposition to the settlement. Once I interviewed Mick Whelan final week he informed me: “I am not within the behavior of creating offers that my members do not like.”
Then there are the London members who already use driver-only-operated trains and will not really feel as strongly over this crunch subject.
Plus, Aslef does not pay members throughout industrial motion, and the double whammy of shedding strike-day pay plus extra time could also be sufficient to chop their urge for food for a struggle.
If the drivers do vote in opposition to the deal although, it is arduous to see the place the following breakthrough on this dispute may come. If two weeks of “extremely intense” negotiation on the TUC cannot clear up it, what can?
Presumably, Aslef could be compelled to name extra crippling strikes, which might additionally flip up the warmth on the federal government to take over both half or all of this troublesome, advanced behemoth of a franchise. I can let you know, ministers usually are not eager to grab management.
In the meantime, the RMT union, which represents the guards/conductors, has vowed to maintain combating. Their strikes haven’t got the identical affect as Aslef’s, with the final one solely knocking out round 30% of providers.
However even which may change if their indignant Aslef colleagues resolve to not cross picket traces.
Anyway, we should always know all on 16 February when the poll consequence comes again.
The worst is probably not over for beleaguered Southern passengers.