South Western Railway Urges Passengers To Plan for Strikes

Company's contingency plans will only provide a partial service

The strike will be the biggest dispute on the train network since 1989 The strike will be the biggest dispute on the train network since 1989


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South Western Railway (SWR) is telling its passengers to plan ahead for the planned industrial action on its network.

The RMT is holding a national strike on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June and severe disruption is anticipated. It will be the biggest train dispute since 1989 affecting 13 train operating companies and on the 21 June there will also be action on London Underground.

SWR expect significantly reduced service levels but, at this stage, are unable to release details. It is working closely with Network Rail and other train operators to finalise a significantly reduced timetable for those dates.

With Network Rail signallers and more than 2,100 SWR RMT members taking industrial action, it is likely that significant parts of the South Western Railway network will be unavailable for travel on those dates. Where routes are open, it is likely that far fewer trains will run than normal.

As a result, passengers are urged to change their travel dates if they can and, for those who have to travel on those dates, to begin looking for alternative methods of transport.

Teams are also working to update hospitals, schools, airports and businesses across the network on what this will mean for them.

Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said, “I understand that the announcement of upcoming industrial action will worry many of our customers, particularly against the backdrop of significant cost of living pressures.

“We are carefully finalising contingency plans, but I’m afraid this action will mean that many customers will be unable to travel by rail.

“If customers can change their date of travel, or make alternative arrangements, I urge them to begin making those arrangements as soon as possible.

“I appreciate how challenging this may be and would like to thank customers for their patience as the rail industry responds to this unprecedented industrial action.”

The RMT says that Network Rail and the train operating companies have subjected their staff to multiyear pay freezes and plan to cut thousands of jobs which they claim will make the railways unsafe.

RMT says it has not been able to secure a pay proposal nor a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, "Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.

"We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1pc and rising.

"Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.

"Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, whilst fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.

"RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways."

In a separate dispute over pensions and job losses, London Underground RMT members will take strike action on 21 June.

SWR will publish details of its reduced timetable when finalised and passengers should check the website for latest updates.

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June 8, 2022

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