Five days of strikes called on South Western

Updated 31 May 08.19

MORE strikes are to be staged on South Western Railway in June, after talks with the RMT failed again.

Further talks are planned, but the union said there would be five consecutive 24-hour walkouts by drivers and guards between 18 and 22 June inclusive.

The RMT has also accused SWR of ‘rowing back on their public pledges’, which had said there would be ‘a guard with safety critical competencies’ on each train.

The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Our members are angry and frustrated that despite suspending action in good faith, and entering into talks in a positive and constructive manner, South Western Railway have dragged their heels and failed to bolt down an agreement that matches up to our expectations on the guard guarantee.

‘For more than three months we have sought to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute and 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 signed off. It is because of that crucial failure by SWR that we have had no option but to lift the suspension and move back into strike action.’

South Western Railway said: ‘With further ACAS talks already in the diary for 17 June, for the RMT to call a week of strikes starting the following day shows there is not a genuine commitment to finding a solution.

‘The union 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. Now 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 our customers and colleagues alike. If these strikes go ahead, they will cause needless disruption. We are calling for the RMT to call off this unnecessary industrial action so that planned ACAS talks can go ahead.’

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