More Train Strikes Ahead on South Western Railway

Union accuses management of 'deliberately wrecking' talks over issue of guards

RMT members demonstrate outside the Department of Transport

The RMT Union has announced that they intend to hold an extended series of strikes in late July and through August over the issue of guards on South Western Railway.

They claim that the company ‘effectively sabotaged’ the talks process by confirming that they intend to roll out the extension of Driver Only Operation.

The RMT has instructed its members no to book on of any shifts on the following days:

Thursday 26 July
Saturday 28 July
Tuesday 31 July
Saturday 4 August
Saturday 11 August
Saturday 18 August 2
Friday 31st August
Saturday 1st September 2018

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said, “RMT is furious that South Western Railway have deliberately wrecked a talks process set up through ACAS to try and find a meaningful resolution to this dispute.

“It was RMT’s firm belief that a deal could be done and an agreement reached like we have with other train operating companies but that requires a responsible and grown up attitude from SWR. Instead they have treated the whole process with total contempt and that is why we have no option but to confirm a further round of strike action.

“The issues at the heart of this dispute are safe and accessible railways for all underpinned by the guard guarantee we have successfully negotiated in Wales, Scotland and other parts of England.

"SWR have kicked that option back in our faces and are determined to put their private profits before public safety at a time of unprecedented and dangerous pressure on their services.”

The union claim that safety is compromised unless there is an absolute guarantee of a guard on all trains. South Western Railway say that they will roster guards on all services but that trains should be allowed to run in the event of one not being available. They argue that there is no evidence of any greater risk with a driver only operated train.

A South Western Railway spokesperson said, “We have been engaged in on-going talks with the RMT and are surprised and disappointed that it has decided to call further strikes, especially at a time when families want to be out and about enjoying the summer holidays.

“We will continue to seek a resolution and work hard to minimise any disruption to our customers.”

July 13, 2018