RMT members vote – for fourth time – to continue South Western Railway strikes

RMT members working for South Western Railway have voted for the fourth time again over keeping guards on the train.

Tory anti-union laws meant the union had to renew its mandate for action– the fourth time it has done so, with the company stringing out the process every six months in the hope that its constant undermining of their own workforce will impact on union members’ morale.

The union says the 88% ‘Yes’ vote shows the strategy has failed. It has called on the company to get around the table for meaningful talks. The new strikes will take place on February 22, and March 9 and 16.

The ballot result came 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.

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.”

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