Southern Rail drivers end 18-month dispute by signing new pay deal

The dates of the series of 24-hour rolling strikes include the sold-out November 14 showdown between Ireland and Denmark at the Aviva Stadium for the second leg of the football World Cup qualifier

Strike action has caused delays and cancellations across the Southern network stretching back to April 2016, after Govia Thameslink Railway - Southern's parent company - announced plans to remove conductors from its trains, leaving them exclusively operated by the driver.

"We are pleased with a resolution which, we believe, works for the staff, and the company, and we now look forward to working with Southern Rail to restore good industrial relations and deliver the service passengers in the region deserve".

The vote sets ASLEF apart from the other big rail union, the RMT, whose members are on strike today over driver-only operation.

Members of the Aslef union voted by 79.1% to accept the resolution, which includes a five-year pay increase worth 28.5%, the BBC says.

"We appreciate that these strikes will cause disruption to the travelling public, but the ball is very much in the company's court".

'Our trains will be planned to have a second person on board and this has been the arrangement we have operated over the previous year.

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Hundreds of services will be canceled, replacement buses will be laid on and services that do run are expected to be busier than usual, passengers have already been warned.

A survey of over 1,000 businesses for the Rail Delivery Group showed that nearly three out of four fear rail strikes will harm the economy with a third believing they could directly harm their businesses.

"While at this time Iarnr√≥d √Čireann has not been advised of a withdrawal by trade unions of the further dates of industrial action (14th and 23rd November, 8th December), the company hopes that the issues can be resolved in a manner that ensures customers suffer no further disruption to services".

"The independent rail regulator has said driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for more than 30 years, are safe". "Only this week at the Wimbledon derailment it was the guard on that train who safely evacuated 300 passengers in an emergency situation". No trains are running on the lines west of Poole and Yeovil Junction, nor on the Isle of Wight. Most services will finish by 7pm.

Britain has faced its worst travel chaos in decades as rail staff staged a walk-out in protest over driver-only trains.

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