South West Train services face more industrial action over guards dispute

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 21 September 2018

South Western Railway's timetable.

South Western Railway's timetable.

Archant

More industrial strike action is set to begin in October - posing fresh problems for rail commuters across the South West.

More industrial strike action is set to begin in October - posing fresh problems for rail commuters across the South West.

Rail union RMT has confirmed that a further 48 hours of strike action will take place on South Western Railway (SWR) on Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6.

The union says that SWR is continuing to refuse to engage in a serious talks process that could reach an agreement in the long running guards’ safety dispute.

SWR has said it intends to run as full a service as possible on the days of strike action, and will be publishing its timetables for the two days in due course.

The action comes in the wake of a new ballot which took place, where 88 per cent of members voted to continue with the current action, which the union said is in defence of safety, security and access on SWR.

RMT members on SWR working as commercial guards, guards and train drivers have been instructed to not to book on for any shifts that commence between 12.01am on October 5 and 11.59pm October 6.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The company has continued to fail to provide any offer that comes close to resolving this dispute and their latest attempts at delaying talks has not gone unnoticed.

“Before the result of the re-ballot, I sent a letter to the company on the August 30, 2018, asking them to make the necessary arrangements for a meeting to take place.

“However, I never received a response from the company and they have made no attempt at trying to resolve this dispute since.

“It would appear that once again the company were riding their luck in the desperate hope that we would not be successful in another re-ballot.

“However, our members have stood rock solid and it’s down to the company to get out the bunker and get serious talks underway.

“There’s a simple solution to this dispute and it means SWR stop playing with words and negotiate the guard guarantee that reflects the best safety practice elsewhere in the industry.

“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 SWR routes.”

In July this year, eight days’ worth of industrial strike action was called as part of the on going dispute over the need for guards on their trains.

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