More Strikes Called on South Western Railway

RMT intensifies dispute with 48 hour industrial action at beginning of October

RMT members demonstrate outside the Department of Transport

A new round of strikes has been called by the RMT union in their protracted dispute with South Western Railway (SWR) over the issue of guards.

The union has confirmed that a further 48 hours of strike action will take place on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October. They claim that the company is refusing to engage in ‘serious talks’.

In a ballot of members about the dispute 88% voted to continue with industrial action. RMT members on South Western Railway working as Commercial Guards, Guards and Train Drivers are now instructed not to book on for any shift on those two days.

The latest strike represents an escalation of the dispute as most of the previous days on which they were held were at the weekend.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said, “The company has continued to fail to provide any offer that comes close to resolving this dispute and their latest attempts at delaying talks has not gone unnoticed.

“Before the result of the re-ballot I sent a letter to the company on the 30th August 2018 asking them to make the necessary arrangements for a meeting to take place. However, I never received a response from the company and they have made no attempt at trying to resolve this dispute since. It would appear that once again the company were riding their luck in the desperate hope that we would not be successful in another re-ballot. However, our members have stood rock solid and it's down to the company to get out the bunker and get serious talks underway.

“There's a simple solution to ‎this dispute and it means SWR stop playing with words and negotiate the guard guarantee that reflects the best safety practice elsewhere in the industry.

“That is 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 South Western Railway routes.”

A spokesperson for SWR said: “We are our extremely disappointed that yet again the RMT has decided to disrupt the lives of customers and employees rather than participate in constructive talks to help resolve this matter for their members.

“We have offered a framework for talks which would guarantee the rostering of a second person with safety critical competencies on all our trains, and our plans mean more guards, not fewer.

“We urge the RMT to call off these unnecessary strikes which are hindering, not helping, progress on this issue.”

September 20, 2018