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South Western Railway: Disruption for commuters as strikes to go-ahead

Credit: PA

Next week's two day strike by guards at South Western Railway will go ahead after peace talks failed to resolve the dispute.

The RMT union is taking action because the company will not guarantee the future safety role of guards on trains.

The action will mean 700 trains will be cancelled on the busiest commuter network in Europe next Wednesday and Thursday. Buses will replace trains on some routes. All stations will see fewer trains.

The company hope to run around sixty per cent of services using managers working as guards. 650,000 passengers face disruption.

The RMT say SWR is refusing to guarantee safety critical guards will be kept on every train and will be safety trained.

We are disappointed that despite re-stating all our previous commitments that we will have more jobs not less, that we plan to retain a second person on every train, and guaranteeing salaries and terms and conditions, the union executive is going ahead with this unnecessary strike which will damage both our passengers and staff."

– South Western Railway spokesperson

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Grinding to a halt - rail dispute hits rural communities

Rail bosses went to the High Court today to try to stop train drivers on Southern going on strike next week.

Members of ASLEF are due to walk out on Tuesday, bringing the service to a complete standstill.

The rail company claims the action breaks European law.

Meanwhile, the effects of the long-running dispute are being most keenly felt in some of our rural communities, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

Three day rail strike set to cause travel chaos

Southern train customers will be affected

Southern Rail passengers have been warned to expect "severe and significant" disruption on the train network ahead of a three-day strike by conductors in an ongoing row over changes to their role.

The three-day walkout by members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) will disrupt transport services on Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th December 2016.

The Railways Minister, Paul Maynard, was in Sevenoaks in Kent today to launch a new smart card which marks the rail operator Southeastern's first move towards "ticketless commuting", similar to the Oyster card system in the capital. Our Political Correspondent Phil Hornby took the opportunity to also ask him what he was doing to put a stop to the industrial disputes which have been causing misery for the region's commuters.

Advice from Southern Rail on travelling around the network during the RMT union strike between Tuesday 6th December and Thursday 8th December 2016.

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More talks to be held ahead of rail strike

Rail bosses have threatened legal action against one of the two unions planning a 24 hour national rail strike from 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

Network Rail said it would seek a High Court injunction against the TSSA union if it continued with plans to take part in the strike.

An NR spokeswoman said: “We have asked the TSSA to withdraw notice of their industrial action as we believe there are numerous defects in the ballot information.”

A senior source made clear that if the union refused to withdraw the action than NR would seek the Injunction to try and prevent it taking part in the walkout. The TSSA, with 3,000 members, is far smaller than the RMT which has 16,000 NR workers including key signalling staff who have the power on their own to halt the railways. Any legal action would not include the RMT and the strike is still scheduled to go ahead.

A second day of talks to try and avert the strike was today taking place at Acas, the conciliation service. If any injunction were successful it would stop TSSA members, which also include senior signal technicians, from taking part in the strike – but a walkout by RMT members would still bring the majority of the national rail network, including most London commuter routes, to a standstill.

The dispute is over pay and working conditions. NR has offered pay increases of RPI for 2016, 2017 and 2018. For this year there would be a £500 non-consolidated lump sum payment – a no compulsory redundancy commitment would be extended until the end of next year.

The RMT has also ordered a 48 hour overtime ban covering all of Bank Holiday Monday and the Tuesday and which would add to the disruption. The union has refused to rule out further strikes if agreement is not reached.