Train operators in Portsmouth prepare for strike action

Liza Bailey and her daughter Helen Bailey took part in Small Business Saturday last year at their florist shop Seaside Florist on Hayling Island.

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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TRAIN operators are facing strike action over the dispute on the role of guards.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Southern Railway and South Western Railway will walk out for 48 hours from November 8.

South Western Railway, which used to be South West Trains, operates in Portsmouth and on surrounding lines.

They will be targeted for a strike after being accused by the RMT of refusing to give a ‘cast iron guarantee’ that a second, safety-critical member of staff, will be retained on trains.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Every effort the RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these disputes with the different train companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces.’

The department for transport called for the RMT to stop the action. A spokesman said: ‘The RMT should stop this action aimed at deliberately disrupting passengers. This dispute is not about jobs and no-one is losing pay. It is not about safety, the independent rail regulator said driver-controlled trains are safe.’