Union declares five day walkout over guards row, thousands of rail commuters to face disruption

 Monday, June 17, 2019 


Five-day strike by RMT will be affecting the rail services and busy commuters in London Waterloo and some of the busiest routes in England due to the dispute over guards on trains.


From Tuesday onwards the Member of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway will walkout. Services at the busy commuter trains into London Waterloo will be cancelled or disrupted. The stoppage is coinciding with the Royal Ascot horse race meeting.


In February the Industrial action was suspended when it appeared that a resolution was in sight. However, after accusing the company of dragging heels in protracted talks over the past few months the union is renewing strikes.


There were fears of ‘stich-up’ after the RMT said SWR was not prepared to give assurance that its new operational model would not move to driver –controlled operation.
The union had suspended the industrial action after the train company pledged in February that each passenger train should operate with a guard along with safety critical competencies as per the RMT.



The Union officials accused the company of rowing back on its public pledges and mentioned that since then it has been ‘stalemate’.


The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said that their members had no choice but to go ahead with strike action tomorrow. 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.


He went on saying that 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.



The situation compounded by an insistence that the future operational models will be governed by the   protection of company profits and not the safety of the travelling public.



The sought negotiation to the dispute for more than three months and it was on the management side that the core issues of the safety critical competencies and the role of guard was not signed off. This was due to the critical failure by SWR that they had to no option but to lift the suspension and move back into strike action.

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