Rail franchises operators & contracts


Weekend strikes to hit South Western over DOO row

South Western Railway will be hit by strike action from 16 February as part of the ongoing dispute over the role of the guard and driver-only operation (DOO), the RMT has confirmed.

From midnight on 16 February until midnight on 20 February, guards, commercial guards and train driver members have been instructed not to undertake any rest day working.

Additionally, guard and commercial guard members have been instructed to refuse to work in accordance with key sections of the Guards Restructuring Agreement.

This is the latest in a series of strikes over what the union calls an “attack on the role of the guard” and DOO.

RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said that the train operator has refused to engage in meaningful talks with the union, calling it “disgraceful.”

“It is the intransigent attitude of the company which has forced us to put on this latest phase of industrial action in an effort to force them to see sense and to drive them back to the negotiating table for genuine and meaningful talks,” he added.

Cash noted that the union is aware that there will be a serious impact on services, but claimed that the disruption will be “wholly down to South Western Railway and their pig-headed attitude.”

A spokesperson for South Western Railway said: “We will do everything we can to minimise the inconvenience to our passengers from this unnecessary action.” 

Top image: Charlotte Ball PA Wire

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Andrew Gwilt   05/02/2018 at 21:37

Bad luck for passengers using SWR when the strikes are on.

Lutz   06/02/2018 at 02:43

Time for SWR to take legal action and dismiss the disruptive elements.

Lee   06/02/2018 at 07:42

The RMT seem a little hypocritical referring to SWR as pig-headed regarding 'meaningful' talks. I have said before and reiterate, if DOO/DCO is so dangerous, the RMT should provide evidence to support the claim, that is open to cross-examination by all parties rather than issuing opinion-based sound bites blaming everyone else for yet another strike they have declared on the basis of their own, as yet, unsubstantiated opinion. Gather the evidence, do the analysis, report the findings, then engage in debate about DOO/DCO and issue criticism on the basis of your findings and any reluctance to observe any evidence you have found and stop taking the Mick, Mick!

Neil Palmer   06/02/2018 at 14:40

Cash noted that the union is aware that there will be a serious impact on services, but claimed that the disruption will be “wholly down to South Western Railway and their pig-headed attitude.” That's a bit rich coming from someone with a curly tail. Look up "intransigent" in the dictionary and I swear you'll find a picture of Mick Cash.

Jerry Alderson   06/02/2018 at 17:50

@Lee re: RMT proving there is a safety risk. RMT may be using the safety of the platform-train interface as an argument but that is purely to win public support: fighting against "greedy fat-cat privateers who will compromise safety of passengers to maximise profit" . They are on stronger ground when mentioning accessibility and personal safety (especially late at night) but both issues are only relevant if there is no second person on a train, which most operators (i.e. not Merseyrail) are saying will only occur in exceptional circumstances. Personal safety is an issue now, of course, if the conductor 'hides' in the rear cab for most of the journey, which some passengers do complain about. The RMT's real concern - and an entirely understandable one - is the reduction of its bargaining power if trains can still carry passengers when RMT members are on strike (which may mean an end to continual above-inflation pay rises for all RMT members). A secondary concern for the RMT is that a TOC will be able to operate with marginally fewer employees - hence less income for the RMT from subs - because although it will still roster (i.e. pay) for someone on every train the TOC will become more efficient as route knowledge will be less important and the TOCs will probably have fewer staff 'on the bench' to cope with illness.

Lutz   07/02/2018 at 00:52

@Jerry Alderson Sorry, but those are not valid justifications; they are rather the arguments of unprofessional conduct - anyone expressing such views amongst the staff must be shown the door.

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