Economy

Rail walkouts expand to a fifth network, South Western Railway

Rail walkouts expand to a fifth network, South Western Railway”

Thousands of commuters across the region were affected by strike action as RMT union members staged their latest walk-out in the row over driver only operated trains.

The RMT has announced that they intend to strike following a successful vote from South Western Railway workers over staff shortages on the companies network.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union announced that their members will strike between 12am to 11.59pm on Thursday, October 5.

The dispute centres on the use, or likely use, of driver only trains.

It continued; "We have been clear that we plan to retain a second person on our services, as we know that our passengers value the assurance and assistance a second member of on-board staff provides".

But the union claims the new operators of the South West network South Western Railway (SWR) may cut jobs in future.

"Nor is the RMT's dispute about safety, as the independent rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road, has ruled that driver-controlled trains are safe".

A spokespersons for Northern Rail said: "To help keep our customers moving during the two separate days of industrial action on Tuesday 3 and Thursday 5 October, we aim to run over 1200 services on each strike day".

Following its succession of former provider South West Trains, the network has been hit with lengthy delays and has been criticized for its teething issues since taking over the South West network.

The dispute between the RMT and Merseyrail relates to a new fleet of driver-only trains that will replace the current 40-year-old rolling stock in 2020 which the RMT say will threaten the security of guards jobs on trains.

"They have refused to give us those guarantees and it is that failure which left RMT with no option but to declare a formal dispute with the company and to conduct a ballot for action", he stated.

"RMT remains available for talks".

An SWR spokesman said: "We are disappointed that some of our staff have chosen to vote for industrial action".

Cash said: "No staff on many routes and lines, no staff on the stations and no staff on the trains travelling through these stations means there will be a cocktail of dangers at the locations we have identified, which will increasingly become no-go areas for vulnerable passengers and new crime hotspots".

"Today's announcement undermines those efforts. We urge the RMT to avoid premature strike action and work with us to deliver for our customers, and we look forward to meeting union representatives as planned to discuss our future".



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