22 October 2018
RMT Press Office:
RMT confirms new phase of strike action on South Western Railway goes ahead from midnight as company continues to refuse serious talks
RAIL UNION RMT has confirmed a further phase of strike action on South Western Railway (SWR) goes ahead from midnight as 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 said:
“South Western Railway has stalled the talks process and has failed to provide any sort of offer that comes close to resolving this dispute which matches the widespread best practice in the industry, underpinned by the guard guarantee. Our dispute is about safety, security and access on South Western Railway while the company look to open up a loophole that would allow them to run services driver only at their discretion.
“Recent figures have shown a shocking 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 pinned down in other parts of the rail industry. They have sought to deliberately mislead the public rather than just bolting down the guard guarantee we have been seeking from the start of the dispute, SWR’s failure to address that fundamental point means that the action goes ahead from midnight as planned.
“The guard guarantee is at the core of 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 that the issues of safety, security and access will go away. They won’t.”