RMT calls for fresh strike talks as TSSA accuses Tories of politicising action

The RMT has issued a fresh call for further talks as members across the length and breadth of South Western Railway stood firm on the second day of the December strike action in the fight for safe and accessible rail travel for all.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members are solidly supporting the second day of this phase of strike action and are standing firm the length and breadth of the franchise in defence of the role of the guard, accessibility and the safest method of train despatch and operation.

“It is frankly ludicrous for the company to simply jam their heads in the sand rather than getting back round the table to get the same deal back on track that they pulled away from at the last minute in earlier negotiations.

“A deal is there to be done which would cost the company nothing and which would give the safety and accessibility guarantees at the platform/train interface that we have been seeking. SWR need to get out of the bunker and get back into talks.”

Meanwhile TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes accused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of “meddling in industrial disputes” after the Conservatives sought to politicise the ongoing strike action on South Western Railway.

Cortes accused the Tories of playing politics with a legal trade dispute after Shapps appeared to try to blame Labour for the dispute in comments released by the Tories.

Cortes said: “If he has any sense Shapps will stop meddling in a legal dispute. It appears both parties had brokered a deal which would have ended this dispute.

“Sadly, it looks like Shapps’ fingerprints are all over the Company’s unwillingness to sign up to a deal it had agreed. He’s proving to be as useless and vindictive as Failing Chris Grayling.

“The Tories are playing politics over this issue for no other reason than they hope to capitalise in the general election. Let’s be frank – they have no interest in the welfare of working people, or their safety, on our railways.

“There’s only one party with a long-term costed plan to end the daily misery for millions on our trains. The Labour Party will end the fares rip off and bring our railways back under public control after two decades of failed privatisation which consistently puts profits before people.”

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