Surrey Live calls for South Western Railway and RMT to end ongoing rail dispute

October 15, 2018
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Surrey Live is calling on South Western Railway (SWR) and rail union RMT to reach a resolution over their long-running dispute.

The RMT announced further strikes beginning with five days of industrial action at the end of this month (October 23-27).

That will be followed by strike action on four consecutive Saturdays through November (November 3, 10, 17, 24).

The strikes are having a big impact on Surrey commuters and, with the upcoming five-day strike falling on half-term, it is likely to impact on families too.

The RMT has managed to reach agreements with other rail networks in the UK, most recently with Greater Anglia, but appear to be no closer to settling matters with SWR.

The main sticking point between the two parties is the guarantee of a guard on every train, despite SWR having stated that their plan “means more guards, not fewer”.

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An SWR spokesperson said: “Our plan is to continue to have members of staff on each train. We have guaranteed to roster a guard on all our services.

The sticking point is if the guard is taken ill or is not able to get onto the train because of a specific reason, such as during disruption, then we want the train to run as normal to avoid passengers being stranded. RMT, however, do not want the train to run if there is no guard.”

“What we’ve been trying to talk to the RMT about is how we can keep our passengers moving on the rare occasions when a guard is unavailable at short notice.”

A reduced service will run on most of the network over the five-day period, but some routes will not have a train or a replacement bus service – potentially leaving some stranded.

Both parties are blaming one another for why an agreement has not been reached.

An RMT spokesperson, said: “The issue is about the guard guarantee. We have come to agreements elsewhere in everywhere else – most recently with Greater Anglia – that a train will not run without a guard on board.

Commuters board a South West Railway train
(Image: AP)

“Our proposals have been good enough for everyone else, so why is it not good enough for SWR? Commuters pay a lot of money in Surrey and they should get the same quality of service.

“They should absolutely have enough guards to cover illness. You should not expect to run a train without a guard.”

The RMT has repeatedly pointed to issues of safety when trains running without a guard have been discussed.

Their spokesperson added: “Think about if there is a disabled passenger waiting to board a train at a station. The guard needs to be there to help them on board safely. There is a deal to be done and we want to sit round a table with SWR and reach a deal.”

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/surrey-live-calls-south-western-15273057


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