18 February 2019
RMT Press Office:
RMT suspends South Western Railway strike action after significant breakthrough on the guard guarantee
RAIL UNION RMT said today that substantial progress in talks with the company has allowed the union’s executive to suspend the on-going programme of strike action on South Western Railway over the retention and the role of the guard on their trains. The next phase of strike action was due to commence on Friday.
Through the talks process the company have now offered a guarantee of a guard on the South Western Railway services that have been in dispute.
The company offer says:
1. South Western Railway confirm that on the introduction of any new or other modified rolling stock, each passenger train shall operate with a guard with safety critical competencies. Specific Safety Critical competencies shall be agreed by SWR and RMT.
2. All rolling stock train dispatch shall be subject to undertaking a safety risk assessment, on a station by station basis. This assessment will be completed with the involvement of company and trade union representatives utilising the agreed PTI assessment method already in place in the company, in addition to the utilisation of new technology within new or modified rolling stock.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Firstly, we need to recognise that the breakthrough on the guard guarantee that has been secured today from South Western Railway has only been achieved through nearly two years of action and campaigning by RMT members on the principle of a safe and accessible railway for all. I want to pay tribute to the resilience, solidarity and determination of our guards and drivers on SWR that has sustained this long, hard campaign.
“I also want to thank the travelling public for their extraordinary support for the staff working at the sharp end of our rail services. That support has been another crucial factor in getting us to the breakthrough we have achieved today.
“Today’s offer of a guarantee of a guard on the SWR services in dispute is the substantial progress we have been pushing for and has allowed RMT’s executive to take the decision to suspend the current action to allow further talks to take place with the objective of reaching a final, agreed settlement.”