1. ITV Report

Strike action on South Western Railway on New Year's Eve

Further strike action for South Western Railway Photo: PA

RMT announces strike action on South Western Railway and Greater Anglia in separate disputes over guards and safety.

Rail Union RMT today (Wednesday 13th December 2017) announced strike action on Greater Anglia and South Western Railway later this month in separate disputes over the threat to guards and the safety of the travelling public.

On South Western Railway members will take strike action from 00.01 hours to 23.59 on Sunday 31st December 2017.

On Greater Anglia members will take strike action from 00.01 to 23.59 hours on Wednesday 27th December 2017.

The union also revealed that yesterday it had met the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and the rail minister Paul Maynard to try and resolve all of the current rail safety disputes but as a result of the meeting there seemed to be “contradictory messages, confusion and lack of clarity” coming from Ministers and the Department for Transport that made it extremely difficult to negotiate.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling Credit: PA

The RMT were told at the meeting that the Government is not opposed to a second person on the train and it was up to the RMT and employers to reach an agreement. The union was also offered further talks to discuss concerns around accessibility in respect of driver only trains.

Then within an hour of the meeting finishing RMT General Secretary Mick Cash received a contradictory letter from Chris Grayling asking that the union accepts the principle of driver controlled operation, which is the same model as driver only operation. The union has also subsequently been made aware that Chris Grayling has written to the train companies with the same letter.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash Credit: PA

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

It’s the continuing failure of the train companies and their political puppet masters in Government to make any attempt whatsoever to resolve these disputes over rail safety that has led us to call action today and the responsibility for the disruption that will be caused lays fairly and squarely at their door.

There is chaos and confusion in the rail industry surrounding the Governments positon which makes it almost impossible to negotiate and I have written to Chris Grayling to express my concern at this lack of clarity and contradictory messages but also to offer further talks not least on the vital issue of accessibility.

– RMT General Secretary Mick Cash