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Aslef-Southern Railway deal 'shocking betrayal' of workers and passengers

The deal agreed between Aslef and Southern Railway to end a dispute over driver-only trains has been attacked as a "shocking betrayal" of workers and passengers.

Leaders of Aslef agreed to recommend the deal to almost 1,000 drivers after saying it would improve safety.

But the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said after seeing details of the agreement that it would lead to the de-staffing of trains.

General secretary Mick Cash also lashed out at the TUC, which hosted 11 days of talks which did not involve the RMT.

He said: "This so-called agreement is a shocking and historical betrayal presided over by the TUC of not only the conductor grade and drivers, but also passengers, including disabled passengers, who have lost the guarantee of a second member of staff on their trains.

"This abysmal document lists a whole host of areas where a a train can leave without a second member of staff that will leave both the driver and passengers exposed and vulnerable, and which also represents a thin end of the wedge that will lead to the de-staffing of trains."

Mr Cash added: "Loyal and dedicated conductors, who have fought for safety for over a year, have had the legs kicked from under them by those who are supposed to be on their side.

"Passengers and staff alike have been sold out by a stitch-up cooked up in Congress House by the TUC and the bosses whilst Southern, one of the most anti-union and hated companies of recent times, is laughing all the way to the bank and have been given a free run to rip up the safety rule book in the name of profits.

"This is not a deal, it is a disgrace, and the RMT dispute remains on and we will fight this shocking betrayal with every tool at our disposal."

Talks are due to be held next week between the RMT and Southern on a bid to resolve a long-running row over the role of conductors.

RMT members have staged a series of strikes, saying the change to a new role of on-board supervisor affects safety.

The ballot result at train drivers' union Aslef is due on February 16.

Southern's passengers have suffered months of disruption because of industrial action, staff shortages and other problems.

Emily Yates of the Association of British Commuters, which is taking legal action against the Government over its handling of the Southern franchise, said: "This is shocking news for accessibility."

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