South Western Railway 'disappointed' by latest strike action

South Western Railway 'disappointed' by latest strike action

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 8:38am 18th August 2019.

4 minute read

The RMT union is planning to walk out for another four days at the end of the month, as part of a long running row.

It's over the role of guards on train services running through Salisbury, Tisbury and Grateley stations towards London.

The union which represents staff says SWR 'continues to drag its heels' over sitting down for talks about the issue, but the train company says they're 'struggling to comprehend what the endless strike action is about'.


RMT union members have been instructed not to book on for duty on: 

  • Friday August 30th
  • Saturday August 31st
  • Sunday September 1st
  • Monday September 2nd

The industrial action will last right through each of those days (midnight to midnight).

South Western Railway say they're still working on the timetables to let customers know how that will affect their travel plans. 

South Western Railway Strike Action July 2018
RMT union members on a picket line at Salisbury station during last summer's strike action


General Secretary of the union Mick Cash said:

"Our members have been left with no choice but to call a further four days of strike action on South Western Railway. They are angry and frustrated that SWR have kicked talks into the long grass and failed to bolt down an agreement that will guarantee the role of the guard on the train. Our members believe that they are being mugged off by the company in protracted talks and I think they are right.
"The company continues to refuse 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.
"We have spent most of this year trying to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute. I want to congratulate our members on their continued resolve in their fight for safety and the role of the guard on SWR. 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 agreed.  This has left us with no option but to take further strike action." 

South Western Railway Train 2018
The train company's still working on revised timetables for the strike days to keep disruption for passengers to a minimum


The train company's released a statement about the latest industrial action: 

"It's extremely disappointing that despite having a date in the diary for what we hoped would be constructive talks held in good faith, the RMT union has somewhat cynically decided to call further disruptive strike action, inflicting misery on our customers and colleagues.

"We met with union representatives on Friday (August 16th) for the fourth day of talks in the last ten days and were due to meet the General Secretary of the RMT the very day before these strikes have now been announced for. We are struggling to comprehend what this endless strike action is really all about. The RMT seems intent on ploughing on full steam ahead with more strikes, showing little regard for our customers or the communities we serve.
"The RMT 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. 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 everyone. We will do everything we can to keep customers moving during strike action."

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