TRAIN services on South Western Railway are set to be disrupted over the Easter weekend, because the RMT has declared more industrial action in the continuing dispute over on-train staffing.
The union has accused SWR of ‘refusing to engage in meaningful talks’. SWR has said that while it intends to roster a guard on every train, it wants to discuss what happens if a guard is not available to work a particular service.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is the continuing intransigent attitude of the company which means that this latest phase of industrial action goes ahead over Easter in an effort to force them to see sense and to drive them back to the negotiating table for genuine and meaningful talks.”
Tensions are said to be running high at some depots.
A letter from managers has been reproduced in the Daily Telegraph which says: “The local management team continue to hear reports of unrest in the messroom, with 'silent treatment' continuing to be seen as acceptable behaviour by some. This is not the case, and is a behaviour that is designed to intimidate.
“Social media is not a good place to express your personal views on the actions of other individuals.”
The latest action called by the RMT includes a ban on rest day working by drivers and guards over the four-day Easter holiday. Additional industrial action by the guards themselves is likely to disrupt services still further, because they will not be accepting last-minute changes to their duties or agree to work additional hours.
A spokesman for South Western Railway said: "Once again, the RMT has chosen to take disruptive industrial action at a time when families and friends traditionally get together to celebrate over a holiday period.
“We will do everything we can to minimise the disruption that this unnecessary action will undoubtedly cause, and intend to operate a normal timetable over the Easter period. However, engineering work is planned for some parts of our network so we advise customers to check our website before they travel.”