16 August 2019
RMT Press Office
RMT announces a further four days of strike action on SWR over guard guarantee
Rail union RMT has confirmed that a further four days of strike action will take place on South Western Railway as the company continues to drag its heels and delays talks over guaranteeing a guard on the train. RMT has accused the company of deliberately trying to mug off staff, who have stood firm in the fight for rail safety, by making a mockery of the talks process.
The company’s unremitting failure to give assurances that their new operational model won't move to Driver Controlled Operation – with the role of the guard butchered completely – means the union has been left with no alternative but to call further industrial action.
The company made it quite clear in talks with the union earlier this year that the protection of their profit margins is a determining factor in their future operational model proving that this is all about putting profits before passenger safety.
As a result of SWR’s failure to move forwards on an agreement RMT members will take action as follows:
We instruct our SWR Guard, Commercial Guard and Driver members to not to book on for duty between: -
• 0001 hours Friday 30th August 2019 and 23.59 hours Monday 2nd September 2019
Back in February – after a long and hard fight by RMT members – the train company pledged that “each passenger train shall operate with a guard with safety critical competencies.” These specific competencies were to be agreed by RMT and SWR. Since then it has been stalemate with the company rowing back on their public pledges.
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.
““I want to congratulate our members on their continued resolve in their fight for safety and the role of the guard on SWR. It is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been agreed. This has left us with no option but to take further strike action.”