RMT members begin five-day strike on South Western Railway

RMT members working for South Western Railway today begin five days of strike action over keeping the guards on the trains.

The union says bosses have continued to drag their heels in protracted talks over the guard guarantee after the union suspended action in February in good faith based on written assurances over the rolling out of driver only operation.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have been left with no choice but to go ahead with strike action. They are angry and frustrated that despite suspending action in good faith, and entering into talks in a positive and constructive manner, South Western Railway have dragged their heels and failed to bolt down an agreement that matches up to our expectations on the guard guarantee.

“Worse than that, the company have refused to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard fuelling fears amongst our members of a stitch up. That situation has been compounded by an insistence that future operational models will be governed by the protection of company profits and not the safety of the travelling public.

“For more than three months we have sought to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute and it is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been signed off. It is because of that crucial failure by SWR that we have had no option but to lift the suspension and move back into strike action.”

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