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Five-day rail strike set to hit Royal Ascot.

Byline: James Stevens

A FIVE-DAY strike on South Western Railway could cause disruption for thousands of racegoers heading to Royal Ascot next month.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are set to walk out between Tuesday, June 18 and Saturday, June 22 inclusive due to ongoing disputes regarding the role of train guards.

If the strike goes ahead it will affect the London Waterloo to Reading train line which provides transport to a significant number of racegoers during Royal Ascot.

SWR is planning to negotiate with the RMT before the scheduled strike and has urged the union to cancel the industrial action.

An SWR spokesperson said: "With further Acas talks already in the diary for June 17, for the RMT Union to call a week of strikes starting the following day shows there is not a genuine commitment to finding a solution.

"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."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "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."

Nick Smith, director of racing and communications at Ascot, said officials at the course will monitor the situation.

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Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 31, 2019
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