|RMT members on South West Trains today begin the first of five days’ strike action over keeping guards on the train.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members are solidly supporting the strike action across the South Western Railway franchise this morning in the fight to put public safety before private profit.
“South Western Railway have deliberately stalled the talks process and slammed the door on union calls to negotiate around the guard guarantee which matches the widespread best practice in the industry. This dispute is about safety, security and access on South Western Railway while the company look to open up a loophole that would allow them to run services driver only 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 regardless of the consequences. 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. South Western Railway should get out of the bunker and start talking with us seriously rather than sitting back and just hoping that the issues of safety, security and access will simply go away. They won’t.”