RMT confirms post-Christmas strike action in ongoing safety dispute
Rail Union RMT has confirmed a further block of further strike action on South Western Railway (SWR).
The Union said the action would take place on Thursday 27 December and Monday 31 December, accusing SWR of failing to engage in a serious talks process that could reach an agreement in the long running guards’ safety dispute.
The action comes in addition to the strike already confirmed for 24 hours on Saturday 22nd December.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said:
“This latest phase of action in the long-running dispute on South Western Railway comes solely as a result of the companies intransigence when it comes to reaching a negotiated settlement that would underpin the guard guarantee on their trains.
“South Western Railway stubbornly refuse to make any progress at all in resolving this dispute, which is about safety, security and access on South Western Railway. The company are hell bent on opening up a loophole that would allow them to run services driver only at their discretion.
“Recent figures have shown a shocking surge in violence on our railways across the festive season and 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 pinned down in other parts of the rail industry.
“RMT remains available for genuine and meaningful talks.”
A South Western Railway spokesperson said:
“We had already offered to meet with the RMT again next week to try and resolve this dispute. By announcing further strike dates, the RMT has shown it has no intention of finding a solution and is only interested in inflicting more misery on passengers as they try to enjoy the festive season.
“This strike action is totally unnecessary. We have guaranteed to roster a guard on every train, and we need more, not fewer guards. Should this strike action go ahead, we will do everything we can to provide the best service possible for our customers.”