30 May 2019
RMT Press Office:
RMT announces five days of strike action as SWR drag heels on guard guarantee
RAIL UNION RMT today announced five days of strike action on South Western Railway – accusing the company of dragging their heels in protracted talks over the guard guarantee after the union suspended action back in February in good faith based on written assurances over the rolling out of driver only operation.
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 take industrial action by not booking on for duty between 00:01 to 23:59 hours on the following dates.
Tuesday 18th June 2019
Wednesday 19th June 2019
Thursday 20th June 2019
Friday 21st June 2019
Saturday 22nd June 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 the RMT and SWR. It was that promise that allowed RMT to suspend the action but since then it has been stalemate with the company rowing back on their public pledges.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Our members are angry and frustrated that despite suspending action in good faith, and entering into talks in a positive and constructive manner, South Western Railway have dragged their heels and failed to bolt down an agreement that matches up to our expectations on the guard guarantee.
“For more than three months we have sought to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute and 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 signed off. It is because of that crucial failure by SWR that we have had no option but to lift the suspension and move back into strike action.”