England

South Western Railway: Further round of strikes announced

South Western Railway Image copyright PA
Image caption The RMT union is locked in a long-running dispute with South Western Railway and staged several strikes last year

Workers on South Western Railway (SWR) will hold another three one-day strikes in a long-running dispute over guards on trains.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) announced the action after 88% of its members voted in a fresh ballot to continue the fight.

It follows the suspension of strikes on Northern Rail after the company agreed to guarantee a conductor on all trains.

The strikes are planned for 22 February and 9 and 16 March.

SWR said it was disappointed and called the action "needless".

'Disgrace'

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said it was a ballot the union had been forced to hold on the issue.

"Once again our members have stood united and solid and have renewed the mandate to carry on the fight to put public safety before private profit," he said.

"It is a disgrace that South Western Railway have yet again opted to play for time over the past six months rather than acting responsibly and getting round the table with the union to work out a solution to this dispute that puts safety and the guard guarantee centre stage.

"That is the package we have successfully negotiated in both Wales and Scotland and on a number of English franchises. It defies belief that we are being denied the same positive outcome on the South Western Railway routes."

A spokesperson for SWR said: "We have repeatedly committed to rostering a guard on all our services - the same assurance that seems to have been sufficient for the RMT to suspend its strikes elsewhere in the country only yesterday.

"No jobs are at risk and our plans over the course of the franchise mean we will need more guards, not fewer."

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