Rail Threat – MP Urges RMT / SWR Talks
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Winchester’s MP Steve Brine is urging SWR and the RMT Union to talk with each other to try to stop industrial action in the continuing row over the use of guards on trains.
Steve met with the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester to discuss what was happening between the RMT Union and South Western Railway.
Here’s Steve’s statement following that meeting: “The RMT union balloted their members for strike action over driver controlled operation on the new South Western Railway franchise. The results of that ballot have been finalised and union members have voted for strike action.
“Strike dates have not been announced by the RMT and I urge both parties to get back to the negotiating table and seek a resolution that does not cause disruption for passengers.
“It is clear that this dispute is not about jobs. South Western Railway have been clear – no one will lose their job and they plan to keep a second member of staff on board trains. In fact the train operator has announced plans to hire even more guards and drivers.
“Nor is the RMT’s dispute about safety, as the independent rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road, has ruled that driver-controlled trains are safe. Passengers will face needless disruption if strikes are called.
“I hope a resolution can be found to the RMT’s dispute, however should strike dates be announced I will be working closely with the Transport Secretary to provide my constituents with a full update about contingency measures being planned by South Western Railway.
“We want all parties to put passengers first on our railways. Clearly we cannot make the RMT call off industrial action, however we urge them, in the strongest possible terms, to cease their ongoing attempts to disrupt passengers’ lives.