SWR Strike Action Escalates


Posted by News Editor

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Strike action on South Western Railway appears to have escalated.

The RMT Union has announced workers on South Western Railway are to stage a series of nine strikes between 23 October and 24 November.

It’s in a continuing row over the future role of guards on trains.

The RMT claims the company “continues to refuse to engage in a serious talks process” that could reach an agreement in the long running guards’ safety dispute. ‎

RMT members on South Western Railway working as Commercial Guards, Guards and Train Drivers are instructed to not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-

• 0001 Hours on Tuesday 23rd October 2018 and 2359 Hours on Saturday 27th October 2018
• 0001 Hours and 2359 Hours on Saturday 3rd November 2018
• 0001 Hours and 2359 Hours on Saturday 10th November 2018
• 0001 Hours and 2359 Hours on Saturday 17th November 2018
• 0001 Hours and 2359 Hours on Saturday 24th November 2018

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash says SWR has stalled the talks process and has failed to provide any sort of offer that comes close to resolving the dispute: “With shocking new figures from the British Transport Police showing a surge in violence on our railways it is frankly appalling that South Western Railway are looking for a green light to throw the guard off their trains as and when they see fit in the name of profit.

“SWR might think it’s acceptable to play fast and loose with passenger safety, security and access but RMT members, who have stood firm throughout this dispute despite appalling harassment from the company, will not accept a dilution of the safety regime on the railway.

“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 negotiated in other parts of the rail 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. The company should get out of the bunker and start talking with us seriously rather than sitting back and just hoping the core issues of safety, security and access will go away. They won’t.”

The release that the RMT refers to is from the British Transport Police – which also says that the chance of becoming a victim is “very small.”

We asked the RMT to provide us with information to back up their claim with any information on increase in crime that relates to South Western Railway. They told us that they are “sadly unable” to provide us with any specific information that relates to SWR – the very company they’re at odds with.

Meanwhile, a South Western Railway Spokesperson said the RMT has again decided to needlessly disrupt our customers and colleagues with more strikes over the next two months.

“The union has cynically chosen dates with the aim of targeting hard-working commuters, families enjoying the half-term holiday and sports fans to cause as much misery as possible. We will be doing everything we can to minimise this disruption.
“Our plans mean more guards, not fewer and we have guaranteed a guard with safety critical competencies to be rostered on all of our services.
“Should the RMT proceed with these damaging strikes, we will do everything possible to provide as many services as we can.”