South Western Railway: Half Of Trains Cancelled As Workers Begin Four-Day Walkout

27 August 2019, 16:00 | Updated: 30 August 2019, 12:12

South Western Railway: Half Of Trains Cancelled As Workers Begin Four-Day Walkout
South Western Railway: Half Of Trains Cancelled As Workers Begin Four-Day Walkout. Picture: RMT

The railway company has cancelled around half of its services today and admits that the strike is inflicting “misery” on commuters.

The train company has said it will do "everything possible" to keep customers moving between Friday and Monday, adding that 50-60 percent of the normal timetable will run.

The network operates services across London, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Dorset and Somerset.

In a statement, South Western Railway said: "It’s extremely disappointing that despite having a date in the diary for what we hoped would be constructive talks held in good faith, the RMT union has somewhat cynically decided to call further disruptive strike action, inflicting misery on our customers and colleagues.

“Only last week, we met with union representatives for the fourth day of talks in the last ten days and were due to meet the General Secretary of the RMT the very day before these strikes have now been announced for.

"We are struggling to comprehend what this endless strike action is really all about."

The row centres on a move to transform guards into on-board supervisors who assist passengers and sell tickets, but do not open or close doors on the train.

Responsibility for doors is transferred to the cab under the driver-only control system, which is a common feature of new trains.

The RMT said that the company’s reforms would lead to the “role of the guard [being] butchered completely”.

Waterloo Station is one of South Western Rail's busiest stations
Waterloo Station is one of South Western Rail's busiest stations. Picture: PA

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have been left with no choice but to go ahead with a further four days of strike action on South Western Railway from Friday.

“They are angry and frustrated that SWR have kicked talks into the long grass and failed to bolt down an agreement that will guarantee the role of the guard on the train."

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