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South Western Railway strike: Sixth ballot for rail workers

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South Western Railway strike
South Western Railway strike is in full swing. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Rail workers on strike over the guards on trains dispute are to be balloted for industrial action for the sixth time since the row flared because of “anti union” laws.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on South Western Railway (SWR) resumed strikes on Friday after returning to work for a day on Thursday.

The workers are taking 27 days of strike action throughout December and into New Year’s Day, causing travel misery for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

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The union said support for the action remained “rock solid”.

In a message to members, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The industrial action taken to date has been solidly supported and proves how determined our members are to defend the role of the guard and stand against SWR plans to extend driver only operation.

“RMT and our members believe that nothing less than an operational method that clearly protects the safety critical role of the guard is acceptable.

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“SWR are making this dispute about the doors and if we accept their optimal method of operation, the company will eradicate the role of the guard and extend driver open, driver close.

“Regrettably, the 2016 Trade Union Act has made it necessary to re-ballot you and your colleagues for industrial action.

“The union’s National Executive Committee has taken the decision to re-ballot all our SWR guards and train driver members for industrial action in order to continue our fight to protect the safety critical role of the guard and to retain a guard on SWR services.

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“RMT is willing to talk about the best ways we can improve and provide a safe and accessible railway system for our members and the travelling public. RMT is willing to enter talks with no pre conditions with SWR under the auspices of Acas with the aim of finding a settlement to this dispute.”


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Sam Hewitt

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