1. ITV Report

Disruption for passengers as South Western Railway workers stage 24-hour strike

Photo: Victoria Jones/PA

South Western Railway workers are holding a 24-hour strike in the ongoing dispute over the role of guards.

The company says it plans to deliver more than half of its normal Saturday service.

Members of the RMT Union say they want to "retain guards and protect safety, security and accessibility" on services.

SWR say the industrial action is "unnecessary and pointless" and their plans mean "more not fewer guards".

Union members have so far staged four out of eight planned 24-hour walkouts this summer.

Further strikes are planned on the following dates:

  • Friday 31 August – Sunday 2 September (72-hour strike)
  • Saturday 8 September (24-hour strike)
  • Saturday 15 September (24-hour strike)
Credit: ITV Meridian

SWR is running additional services between Bournemouth and Weymouth, Portsmouth and Eastleigh and Alton and Woking.

It is extremely disappointing that the RMT has yet again chosen to needlessly inconvenience our customers, and its own members, across our network.

“We are committed to resolving this dispute and earlier this week met with the RMT at Acas, reiterating our proposed framework agreement which centres around how we can better keep our customers moving during times of disruption.

“Despite the RMT agreeing to a similar deal with another train operator just a few weeks ago, the union has failed to explain to us, their members or our customers why such a deal is not acceptable on our network.

“The RMT executive’s answer to every question is strike - they need to start accepting that the railway is modernising and that their members can play a key part in that future if only they stop calling for action and work with us to deliver a better railway for our customers.

“This decision is totally unnecessary and pointless – we cannot make it any clearer that our plans mean more not fewer guards, we have guaranteed to roster a second person on all our trains and we have guaranteed terms and conditions.

“We will continue to do everything we can to minimise disruption to passengers while the RMT persists with these unnecessary strikes.”

– South Western Railway spokesperson
Credit: ITV Meridian

RMT members are standing rock solid and united again this morning across South Western Railway in the latest phase of the campaign to put public safety, security and access before private profit.

“RMT is angry and frustrated that efforts by the union to get an agreement on the guard guarantee with South Western Railway bolted down this week was met with the same old tired response from the company that refuses to move the process on and address the fundamental issues.

"That is no way to treat a serious dispute that will impact on huge numbers of passengers through into the autumn and SWR need to get out of this bunker mentality.

"Instead of winging it on passenger safety today, and misleading the public on the level of service, the company should be round the table working out an agreement that ‎puts safety first.

“Our members are striking today to put public safety before private profits and it’s about time SWR took note of what is going on elsewhere in the rail industry, and the settlements RMT has struck that underpin the guard guarantee, and started talking with us seriously around a similar package that puts safety, security and access to services top of the agenda."

– Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT