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RMT announces fresh four-day strike on South Western Railway network; "The company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard fuelling fears among our members of a stitch up".

Byline: Tom Smurthwaite

The RMT has announced a further four days of strikes on theSouth Western Railway(SWR) network.

The rail union says its guard and driver members will strike from 00.01am on Friday, August 30, to 11.59pm on Monday, September 2.

Itfollows a series of strikes over the past yearregarding the planned use of guards on SWR trains. The RMT says it has not received assurances that all passenger trains will have a guard, yet SWR says it has pledged to do this as part of its framework agreement.

The RMT accuses SWR of "deliberately trying to mug off staff" who are fighting for rail safety by "making a mockery" of the talks process.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our members have been left with no choice but to call a further four days of strike action on SWR. They are angry and frustrated that SWR have kicked talks into the long grass and failed to bolt down an agreement that will guarantee the role of the guard on the train.

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"The company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard fuelling fears among our members of a stitch up.

"That situation has been compounded by an insistence that future operational models will be governed by the protection of company profits and not the safety of the travelling public."

In response to the latest planned strike action, a statement by SWR says it will do "everything it can" to keep customers moving over the four-day period.

"It's extremely disappointing that despite having a date in the diary for what we hoped would be constructive talks held in good faith, the RMT union has somewhat cynically decided to call further disruptive strike action, inflicting misery on our customers and colleagues," the statement says.

"Only on Friday (August 16), we met with union representatives for the fourth day of talks in the last ten days and were due to meet the general secretary of the RMT the very day before these strikes have now been announced for.

"We are struggling to comprehend what this endless strike action is really all about. The RMT seems intent on ploughing on full steam ahead with more strikes, showing little regard for our customers or the communities we serve."


Credit: Tom Smurthwaite / SurreyLive

It's the rail users who suffer during these strike days

Credit: Surrey Advertiser

RMT general secretary Mick Cash, centre, joins the strike action outside Waterloo last November. He says the union's members have "no choice" but to call further strike action

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Publication:Get Surrey (Surrey, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2019
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