South Western Railway strike – When is the five-day strike and why are the staff planning a walk out?


WORKERS on South Western Railway are to strike for five days next month in a dispute over guards on trains.

Here’s what you need to know about the long running dispute between the train company and its workers.

South Western Trains said the strike will cause ‘needless disruption’
PA:Press Association

When is the five-day strike?

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out from June 18 to 22, the week of the Royal Ascot race meeting.

Ascot is served by SWR trains.

Talks had been protracted since industrial action was suspended in February, said the union.

Why are the staff planning a walk out?

The union accused the company of “dragging its heels” on resolving a bitter row over driver only operated trains.

The union has launched a petition to make it a legal requirement to have a guard on trains to ensure  the safety of passengers

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said “our members are angry and frustrated that, despite suspending action in good faith, and entering into talks in a positive and constructive manner” a deal had 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,” he said.

What has the company said?

A South Western Railway spokesman said the strikes “will cause needless disruption”.

More talks are due to take place at industrial dispute resolution body Acas on June 17 – the day before the planned walk out.

“For the RMT Union to call a week of strikes starting the following day shows there is not a genuine commitment to finding a solution,” said the spokesman.

“The union has always said it wanted us to keep the guard on every train which is what we have offered as part of a framework agreement.

“Now we want to move the conversation on to how we operate our new trains and take advantage of the new technology on board to benefit our customers.

“We remain committed to finding a solution that will help us build a better railway for our customers and colleagues alike.

“We are calling for the RMT to call off this unnecessary industrial action so that planned Acas talks can go ahead.”

The dispute centres around guards on trains
PA:Press Association

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