New Ballot Backs Strike Action on South Western Railway

RMT Union to consider 'resounding' result and announce decision soon

 RMT members demonstrate
RMT members demonstrate

Members of the RMT Union have voted in favour of continued industrial action in their dispute with South Western Railway (SWR) over the role of guards on the service.

They are required to reballot their members every six months under what they describe as ‘Tory anti-union’ laws. In the latest vote they say that 86% backed carrying on with the current series of strikes on the issue.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, “RMT has been forced under the latest wave of Tory anti-union laws to ballot for a fifth time in the rail safety dispute on South Western Railway under the six month rule and once again our members have stood united and solid and have renewed the mandate to carry on the fight to put public safety before private profit.

“It is a disgrace that South Western Railway have yet again opted to play for time over the past six months rather than nailing down a solution to this dispute that puts safety and the guard guarantee centre stage. That is the package we have successfully negotiated in both Wales and Scotland and on a number of English franchises. It defies belief that we are being denied the same positive outcome on the South Western Railway routes.”

The union’s executive say they will consider this ‘resounding’ result and make a decision on future action in due course.

The last industrial action by the union was for five consecutive days from 18 to 22 June. SWR managed to maintain around half of services during the strike and laid on services for major events taking place during the disruption.

A SWR spokesperson said, "It’s very disappointing that the RMT union has called for more disruptive strike action. We remain committed to finding a solution that will help us build a better railway for our customers.

The strikes affected services across west and south west London including stations such Chiswick, Putney, Brentford, Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Kew Bridge.

The disruption represents a resumption of the dispute which appeared to have been resolved earlier this year when the union suspended industrial action after receiving written assurances over the rolling out of driver only operation.

Protracted talks have subsequently failed to finally resolve the issue. The union says that the train company pledged that “each passenger train shall operate with a guard with safety critical competencies” but now says that they are rolling back on that guarantee.

SWR says it remains committed to keeping a guard on every train

July 24, 2019