Closure for engineering works followed by strike on South Western Railway
RMT members demonstrate outside the Department of Transport
Passengers on South Western Railway (SWR) services in west and south west London are having to face disruption for the best part of a week with a five day strike following on the heels of a closure for engineering works.
On Sunday 21 October all lines in the Barnes area, including the Hounslow Loop, and part of Clapham Junction station were closed all day Sunday for track and bridge maintenance.
There is a return to normal service on Monday 22 October but the following day a five day strike by the RMT begins with disruption likely until Saturday. SWR say they aim to run 60% of trains but, during previous strike days, services on the Hounslow Loop have been severely reduced or cancelled altogether. At the moment SWR are indicating that a reduced service on the Hounslow Loop during the latest strike.
In addition to the five days of strikes from the 23 – 27 October there will be strikes on the following four Saturdays.
The union say the strikes are necessary because management is refusing to engage in serious talks over guards whereas SWR say the RMT is ‘needlessly’ disrupting the service.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said, "There's a simple solution to this dispute and it means SWR stop playing with words and negotiate the guard guarantee that reflects the safety values of the agreements RMT has pinned down in other parts of the rail industry. They have sought to deliberately mislead the public rather than just bolting down the guard guarantee we have been seeking from the start of the dispute, SWR’s failure to address that fundamental point means that the action goes ahead from midnight as planned.
“The guard guarantee is at the core of the package we have successfully negotiated in both Wales and Scotland and on a number of English franchises. It defies belief that we are being denied the same positive outcome on the SWR routes. The company should get out of the bunker and start talking with us seriously rather than sitting back and just hoping that the issues of safety, security and access will go away. They won’t.”
A SWR spokesperson said, “The RMT is cynically targeting hard-working commuters, families trying to enjoy the half-term holidays and sports fans with its latest strike dates.
“We have guaranteed a guard to be rostered on every single service, and our growth plans mean more guards, not fewer. It is time for the union to stop spreading myths and causing misery to our customers and colleagues, and commit to resolving this dispute.
“If the union decides to continue with its unnecessary action, we will do everything we can to keep our customers moving and reduce disruption.”
SWR are providing live updates on services during the strikes.
October 22, 2018