|Three Day Strike Planned on South Western Railway|
Dispute intensifies as RMT accuses management of 'making a mockery' of talks
The dispute on the South Western Railway network (SWT) looks set to intensify with a war of words developing between the RMT union and management.
Hopes that the prolonged series of strikes would come to an end after the suspension of a planned strike on Saturday 11 August were dashed with the RMT Union announcing further disruption ahead and proceeding with the strike the following week.
The next planned disruption is a three day strike beginning on Friday 31 August.
The union accused management of ‘making a mockery’ of the talks in the dispute over the role of guards and sabotaging a process that could have reached agreement.
They say the company of sent in a negotiating team with no authority and no support from the owners who they say had no intention of reaching an agreement.
Following the action form 31 August to 2 September there are two further strike days planned on
Saturday 8 September and
Saturday 15 September.
Commenting, a South Western Railway spokesperson said, “It is extremely disappointing that the RMT has yet again chosen to needlessly inconvenience our customers, and its own members, across our network.
“We are committed to resolving this dispute and earlier this week met with the RMT at Acas, reiterating our proposed framework agreement which centres around how we can better keep our customers moving during times of disruption.
“Despite the RMT agreeing to a similar deal with another train operator just a few weeks ago, the union has failed to explain to us, their members or our customers why such a deal is not acceptable on our network.
“The RMT executive’s answer to every question is strike - they need to start accepting that the railway is modernising and that their members can play a key part in that future if only they stop calling for action and work with us to deliver a better railway for our customers.
“This decision is totally unnecessary and pointless – we cannot make it any clearer that our plans mean more not fewer guards, we have guaranteed to roster a second person on all our trains and we have guaranteed terms and conditions.
“We will continue to do everything we can to minimise disruption to passengers while the RMT persists with these unnecessary strikes.”
The union claim that safety is compromised unless there is an absolute guarantee of a guard on all trains. South Western Railway say that they will roster guards on all services but that trains should be allowed to run in the event of one not being available. They argue that there is no evidence of any greater risk with a driver only operated train.
August 23, 2018