Fresh rail strike called in bitter train guards’ dispute

Workers on some of the busiest rail services in the country are to strike on the Saturday before Christmas in the long-running dispute over guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on South Western Railway (SWR) will walk out on December 22, causing travel misery for festive shoppers.

The company, which has been hit by a series of delays in recent weeks because of signal and train failures, runs services into London Waterloo, the busiest station in the UK.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “South Western Railway continues to refuse to resolving this dispute, which is about safety, security and access while the company look to open up a loophole that would allow them to run driver-only services at their discretion.

“Recent figures have shown a shocking a surge in violence on our railways. It is frankly appalling that South Western Railway are looking for a green light to throw the guard off their trains as and when they see fit in the name of profit.

“SWR might think it’s acceptable to play fast and loose with passenger safety, security and access but RMT members, who have stood firm throughout this dispute despite appalling harassment from the company, will not accept a dilution of the safety regime on the railway.

“There’s a simple solution to ‎this dispute and it means SWR stop playing with words and negotiate the guard guarantee that reflects the safety values of the agreements RMT has pinned down in other parts of the rail industry.”

RMT members on Arriva Rail North are striking for 24 hours on every Saturday for the rest of the year in the same dispute.

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