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South Western Railway Employees Vote To Strike

Matt Crisp October 9, 2017

Commuters in the south-west of the UK could see railway journeys severely disrupted after members of the RMT union voted in favour of strike action.

Employees at South Western Railway, which operates services to and from London Waterloo, turned out for the vote, which saw over 80 per cent of members in favour of striking. There was a 76 per cent turnout for the vote.

The strike is over guards on trains, with workers stating that they are taking industrial action because of the impact removing guards from services will have on safety.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, explained that the union is seeking assurances from South Western Rail, and the franchise holder First MTR, over the future role of guards on the trains it operates. According to the union, they have not received a straight answer from the company, leaving members with no other choice.

He stated that the strike action could be avoided if the organisation will “stick to existing arrangements, give staff and passengers alike a guarantee of a second, safety-critical member of staff on all current services and an assurance that safety and access are the absolute priority”.

RMT has yet to announce the date of the strike action, but employers who have a large number of staff who commute in through Waterloo station may want to think about arranging coach hire to London and from to help them get to work and home again when it does happen.

The news of the South Western Railway strike comes as the Tube strike planned for Thursday 5 October was suspended after talks between Transport for London and train drivers’ union Aslef made progress.