28 November 2019
RMT Press Office:
RAIL UNION RMT has confirmed that strike action on South Western Railway starting on Monday and lasting throughout December is on after the company point-blank refused to show any serious movement whatsoever on the critical issue of passenger safety and accessibility at the platform/train interface, wrecking the efforts to broker a solution through the ACAS machinery.
RMT had set out proposals ensuring that the guard had an integral and guaranteed role in the despatch process which would have cost the company nothing but which would have guaranteed the safest method of operation. The company refused to seriously engage with the proposal, choosing instead to be wholly obstructive in the knowledge that their hard-line position would mean that the strike action goes ahead.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT is angry and frustrated that a set of proposals that would have guaranteed the safety-critical role of the guard at the point of despatch, and which would have cost the company absolutely nothing, have been kicked back in our faces. There is no rational explanation for the company position and we can only assume that either they or their paymasters in Government want this strike action to go ahead for politically motivated purposes.
“The union also believes that cutting the guard out of the despatch process reduces the second person on the train to little more than a passenger in the longer term which would give the company the option of axing them all together at some point down the line. Both the union and the travelling public are being set up and that stinks.
“Our action goes ahead from Monday in defence of passenger safety and accessibility and the blame for that lies wholly with SWR and their wrecking strategy. The union remains available for talks and we have a deal to solve this dispute which is cost free for SWR worked up and ready to go. The company should grab it with both hands and avoid the disruption to services their actions will unleash.”