Rail union demands intervention to stop 'scandalous' plans from South Western Rail that could result in 'station closures and loss of jobs'

A RAIL union has demanded intervention to stop ‘scandalous’ plans from a train operator making ‘swingeing cuts’ to services it says could lead to loss of jobs and station closures.

By Steve Deeks
Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 10:58 am

The RMT has written to rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris to halt the proposals put forward by South Western Railway.

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SWR has launched a formal consultation to make significant changes to their timetables based on claims that ‘rail services will not return to pre-Covid levels for the foreseeable future’.

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Commuters ride a crowded South Western Railway train on Portsmouth which could be thing of the past according to union RMT. Photo: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire

This comes despite Mr Heaton-Harris saying last week that ‘demand for trains will fully recover from the pandemic’.

The union has warned the plans could be an indication of what is to come across the rail industry in the coming months.

The RMT blasted the plans as an ‘assault that the union has already pledged to fight ‎with every tool at its disposal including industrial action’.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘The messaging from the government and the rail industry is a total shambles.

‘On the one hand we have the rail minister himself saying that rail passenger demand will fully recover post-Covid and on the other hand we have private train operators like South Western Railway claiming otherwise in order to make swingeing cuts to services and ultimately jobs.

‘It is an absolute scandal that in the year we host vital climate talks that the government and rail industry is pursuing a policy of rail austerity as short sighted as the Beeching cuts of the 1960s which will just force more cars onto the roads.

‘Today I have written to the rail minister calling on him to intervene, do his job and act as a champion and guardian of our railways and not the axeman for Her Majesty’s Treasury. These cuts must be stopped.’

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