Rail strikes over role of guards called off

A series of planned strikes on South Western Railway has been suspended to allow talks to be held in the bitter dispute over the role of guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) were due to walk out for 24 hours on May 9, 11, 14, 16 and 18.

The union said the company had agreed to a meeting at the conciliation service Acas, so as a gesture of goodwill the industrial action will be suspended.

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In a message to members, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "I have contacted the company today requesting Acas talks are arranged at the earliest possible opportunity.

"They have also been advised that if these talks do not commence by 18th May, the NEC may consider further industrial action."

RMT members on Greater Anglia and Arriva Rail North are due to take strike action in the coming weeks over the same dispute.