South Western Railway finds common ground to end guard dispute

Three years and 74 days of strike action it has taken for the South Western Railway company and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) to come to an agreement.

Causing overall a total of 800 trains being cancelled affecting tens of thousands of passengers.

The issue and area of disagreement concerned plans for drivers to operate the doors on new trains, instead of guards.

However there has been common ground found after this ongoing and ‘tug of war’ which raged through the pandemic with the latest strike being in January.

South Western Rail (SWR) has ordered 90 new trains designed to work without a guard and the RMT has accepted drivers will operate the doors. 

SWR said: "This agreement is an important milestone on our journey to providing an even better experience for our customers, while providing certainty for our colleagues and the communities we serve.

"All parties can now move on from the disruption this dispute has caused and focus on welcoming our customers back to a more punctual, reliable and customer-friendly railway in the coming months."

As government proceeds in its roadmap out of lockdown this moment will be of much significance as there is to be no more anticipated disruptions, as passengers regain confidence in using rail.

Additionally, to the guarantee of a guard on every passenger train, there is to be a reduction in working hours for guards - down from 42 to 37 hours a week.  

Guards have voted heavily in favor of the deal - but the union has chosen not to publicize the figures.


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