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SWR plans to run full service despite weekend-long RMT strike

South Western Railway (SWR) says it plans to run a full service over the upcoming weekend despite the RMT’s planned four-day strike.

The union has confirmed that action will go ahead amid ongoing disputes about the safety of trains running driver-only operation (DOO).

The strike will begin on Friday morning and run until the end of services on Monday, but SWR has announced it intends to continue running trains as normal to “minimise the effect” of the plans.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the actions of the operator were “frankly disgraceful” and claimed the union had repeatedly tried to have talks with SWR, which had not been forthcoming.

He added that the union knew the strike would have a “serious impact on services” but shifted responsibility onto the operator for refusing to discuss the future of “safety-critical” guards.

The ongoing issue of DOO train management has seen the RMT enforce strike action on a number of recent occasions, including threats of action across five separate franchises.

However, an SWR spokesperson said: “We plan to run our full service on all four days and will do everything we can to minimise any effect this strike action may have.

“We do however advise passengers to check before they travel.”

SWR faced criticism earlier this week from the ORR after passengers complained that some of the tickets offered by the operator in late January were for trains that were no longer running.

In a letter to the TOC’s managing director, Andy Mellors, dated 23 January, John Larkinson, ORR’s director of railway markets and economics, wrote that the regulator had “serious concerns regarding the information that SWR provides to consumers about its rail services.”

Top image: SWR

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Andrew Gwilt   15/02/2018 at 20:36

It was a similar situation on how Greater Anglia operated a number of services despite the 2 day strikes that happened which only affected London-Norwich Mainline services to be affected as a result of the strikes. I think there will (may) be more strikes happening on Greater Anglia aswell on SWR and Northern.

Lutz   16/02/2018 at 07:24

TOCs must act to bankrupt the Unions and individual members to prevent these cynical exercises in hijacking members of the public.

Jerry Alderson   16/02/2018 at 17:21

As Andrew says GA runs a 100% service when RMT conductors go on strike. GA is able to because 60% of its trains (carrying more than 80% of its passengers) are DCO+0, and it has sufficient managers to stand in for the conductor on the remaining services. However, I thought SWR had conductors on 100% of trains, so surely there are not enough managers to provide cover. I wonder how they are going to achieve this. Shouldn't RTM - if it is trying to offer a serious news service - provide an answer to such a basic question?

Andrew Gwilt   16/02/2018 at 18:20

I appreciate your comment Jerry.

Mmlred   19/02/2018 at 10:56

It's fun to see the tide turning on strike action - it's becoming more and more ineffective. All the RMT cronies have managed to do in the past year or two is boost public support for DOO and, further than that, for driverless trains down the line. Personally, I found the utterly ineffective DLR strike over New Year the best example yet that the RMT should be very careful what they wish for, because it proved more than ever that there will come a day sooner than we had first thought where not only guards but also drivers are no longer necessary to run a railway system.

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