“It is two weeks of my life I am going to 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) regarded 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 attainable indicators that they could simply kick it out.
I spoke to a few Southern’s prepare drivers over the weekend and so they weren’t completely happy.
One wrote this to me: “GTR, ‘We are going to agree to hold on doing precisely what we would like.’ 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 offered 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 recommended that a few of his colleagues may depart Aslef and be a part of the RMT union as a substitute. The RMT remains to be in dispute with Southern over the identical difficulty and was vitriolic in regards to 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 towards the settlement. Once I interviewed Mick Whelan final week he advised me: “I am not within the behavior of constructing offers that my members don’t love.”
Then there are the London members who already use driver-only-operated trains and will not really feel as strongly over this crunch difficulty.
Plus, Aslef does not pay members throughout industrial motion, and the double whammy of shedding strike-day pay plus time beyond regulation could also be sufficient to chop their urge for food for a combat.
If the drivers do vote towards the deal although, it is onerous 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 pressured 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, complicated behemoth of a franchise. I can inform you, ministers aren’t eager to grab management.
In the meantime, the RMT union, which represents the guards/conductors, has vowed to maintain preventing. Their strikes haven’t got the identical affect as Aslef’s, with the final one solely knocking out round 30% of companies.
However even which may change if their indignant Aslef colleagues resolve to not cross picket strains.
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.