South Western Railway train strikes – When and where are the delays, and why are the staff walking out?

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SOUTH Western Railway staff are set to strike for five days later this month in a dispute over guards on trains.

Here’s what you need to know about the long running dispute between the train company and its workers.

South Western Trains said the strike will cause ‘needless disruption’
PA:Press Association

When is the five-day strike?

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out from today until June 22, the week of the Royal Ascot race meeting.

Ascot is served by SWR trains.

As a result trains are being cancelled or delayed and a bus replacement service is operating in some areas.

Commuters into London, as well as racegoers at Royal Ascot, will face travel hell because of the long-running dispute over guards on trains.

Passengers trying to get to work this morning faced long queues, crowded trains and delayed services.

@DaveRisk1/ Twitter

Passengers stand on a crowded train amid the first day of industrial action[/caption]

Why are the staff planning a walk out?

Britain is braced for another deluge this week with heavy downpours and thunderstorms on the way – as rail commuters face disruption thanks to a five-day strike.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) walked out today over South Western Railway’s failure to satisfy their request for a guard on each train.

Industrial action was suspended in February as a resolution seemed in sight but the union is renewing strikes after accusing the company of dragging its heels in protracted talks over the past few months.

The RMT accused the company of “dragging its heels” on resolving a bitter row over driver only operated trains.

Talks had been protracted since industrial action was suspended in February, claimed the union.

The union has launched a petition to make it a legal requirement to have a guard on trains to ensure the safety of passengers

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said “our members are angry and frustrated that, despite suspending action in good faith, and entering into talks in a positive and constructive manner” a deal had not been signed off.

“It is because of that crucial failure by SWR that we have had no option but to lift the suspension and move back into strike action,” he said.

South Western Railway

Affected routes due to the strike[/caption]

@lukejdarling/ Twitter

This is the queue outside Surbiton station in Surrey on the first morning of SWR strikes[/caption]


What has the company said?

A South Western Railway spokesman said the strikes “will cause needless disruption”.

More talks are due to take place at strike resolution body Acas on June 17 – the day before the planned walk out.

“For the RMT Union to call a week of strikes starting the following day shows there is not a genuine commitment to finding a solution,” said the spokesman.

“The union has always said it wanted us to keep the guard on every train which is what we have offered as part of a framework agreement.

“Now we want to move the conversation on to how we operate our new trains and take advantage of the new technology on board to benefit our customers.

“We remain committed to finding a solution that will help us build a better railway for our customers and colleagues alike.

“We are calling for the RMT to call off this unnecessary industrial action so that planned Acas talks can go ahead.”


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