7 February 2019
RMT Press Office:
RMT secures renewed mandate for action in ballot on South Western Railway and announces fresh strike dates.
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it has secured yet another rock-solid vote to continue with action in the rail safety dispute on South Western Railway after being forced to renew the mandate under the terms of the latest wave of Tory anti-union laws.
Accordingly the union’s executive has announced a further round of strike action.
Members have voted by an overwhelming 88% to continue with the current action in defence of safety, security and access on SWR despite the legal hurdles erected by the Tories. This is the fourth time that the union has been forced to ballot with the company stringing out the process every six months in the hope that their constant undermining of their own safety-critical workforce will impact on union members morale. Once again their cynical strategy has failed and RMT says that it is time for SWR to stop playing games and to start getting serious in genuine and meaningful talks.
RMT members on South Western Railway working as a Railway Guard, Commercial Guard or Train Driver are instructed to not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
• 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Friday 22nd February 2019.
• 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Saturday 9th March 2019.
• 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Saturday 16th March 2019.
The ballot result comes a day after RMT secured a guard guarantee in the long running dispute on Northern Rail allowing the union to suspend on-going strike action - piling more pressure on SWR to stop stalling and start talking seriously around safe and accessible services with all trains running with a guard on board.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT has been forced under the latest wave of Tory anti-union laws to ballot for a fourth time in the rail safety dispute on South Western Railway under the six month rule and once again our members have stood united and solid and have renewed the mandate to carry on the fight to put public safety before private profit.
“It is a disgrace that South Western Railway have yet again opted to play for time over the past six months rather than acting responsibly and getting round the table with the union to work out a solution to this dispute that puts safety and the guard guarantee centre stage. 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.
“This ballot result comes just a day after RMT secured a guard guarantee in the long running dispute on Northern Rail allowing the union to suspend on-going strike action - piling yet more pressure on SWR to stop stalling and start talking seriously around safe and accessible services with all trains running with a guard on board. There is no excuse for them to stall that process any longer.“
RMT response to SWR guards dispute statement
General Secretary Mick Cash said;
"Once again SWR are playing with words and trying to con the public. Rostering a guard and giving a guarantee that all trains will have a guard on board - the assurance we have had from Northern and other operators - are two completely different things.
"SWR are trying to create a loophole they can drive an unlimited number of driver only trains through and they know it. They should stop playing games and start getting serious".