Rail jobs, staff issues and training

17.08.18

RMT strikes on SWR to go ahead as Cash complains of ‘contemptuous and cavalier approach’

The RMT have confirmed the next phase of their strike action on South Western Railway will go ahead from tomorrow after accusing the company of making a mockery of the negotiation process.

The union suggested that SWR sent a team without the necessary authority or support of their paymasters in Hong Kong and Aberdeen to effectively reach a solution to the ongoing issue of staffing onboard SWR trains.

In response to the accusations South Western have labelled the strikes as needless and reiterated their intention to end the dispute.

As no solution has been found, walkouts will commence from tomorrow, with one starting on August 31st scheduled to last 72 hours. Strikes will continue into mid-September.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT is angry and frustrated that the company’s cavalier and contemptuous approach to talks leaves us no option but to continue our programme of industrial action. We know that passengers will share that anger.

“South Western Railway seem to think they can treat the union and their staff with utter contempt. They need to change that attitude, get serious and put a team in place that can talk with us with authority on the safety, security and access issues at the heart of this dispute.”

In a statement addressing the breakdown of talks South Western Railway said: “It is extremely disappointing that the RMT has yet again chosen to needlessly inconvenience our customers, and its own members.

“We are committed to resolving this dispute and earlier this week met with the RMT, 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 statement adds: “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.

“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.

“This decision is totally unnecessary and pointless.”

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Image credit: Jonathan Brady, PA Images

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