Four Day Strike Called on South Western Railway

Another round of industrial action in dispute over guards


The RMT have announced another four day strike on South Western Railway (SWR) in the ongoing dispute over the role of guards on the network. The union say that 86% of their members backed carrying on with the current series of strikes on the issue.

They have instructed drivers and guards not to book on for duty from Friday 30 August to Monday 2 September.

The disruption represents a resumption of the dispute which appeared to have been resolved earlier this year when the union suspended industrial action after receiving written assurances over the rolling out of driver only operation. The union say that management have failed to give assurances that their new operational model won't move to Driver Controlled Operation. The last industrial action by the union was for five consecutive days from 18 to 22 June. SWR managed to maintain around half of services during the strike and laid on services for major events taking place during the disruption. The strikes affected services across west and south west London including stations such Chiswick, Putney, Brentford, Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Kew Bridge.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, “Our members have been left with no choice but to call a further four days of strike action on South Western Railway. They are angry and frustrated that SWR have kicked talks into the long grass and failed to bolt down an agreement that will guarantee the role of the guard on the train. Our members believe that they are being mugged off by the company in protracted talks and I think they are right.

“The company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard fuelling fears amongst our members of a stitch up. That situation has been compounded by an insistence that future operational models will be governed by the protection of company profits and not the safety of the travelling public.

“We have spent most of this year trying to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute.”

A SWR spokesperson said previously when the intention to strike was announced, "It’s very disappointing that the RMT union has called for more disruptive strike action. We remain committed to finding a solution that will help us build a better railway for our customers.”

The company say they remain committed to a guard travelling on every train.

The RMT rail union has also called strike action on services on the Central and Victoria lines from 8pm on Tuesday 3 September to 8pm on Wednesday 4 Sepetember.

The union say that the issues in the Central Line dispute are 'insufficient driver numbers/chronic understaffing; imposed rosters; undue pressure and bullying of Drivers from Service Control management; obstruction of representatives’ trade union duties; misuse of the attendance at work and disciplinary policies; inadequate welfare facilities and breaches of local agreements'.

The strike was originally announced to take place at the end of August.

August 23, 2019