Residents planning to travel over the Christmas period are facing chaos as a union threatens 27 days of strikes in December.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have announced its latest round of industrial action in its long-running battle with South Western Railway over the future of guard roles.
It is calling on its members – including guards, commercial guards and drivers – to carry out 27 days of strikes throughout December in a move that could cause travel chaos over the Christmas period.
RMT says it is calling the lengthy spell of industrial action due to SWR’s failure to give assurances that their new operational model won't move to Driver Controlled Operation – which the union says would result in the role of the guard being butchered completely.
The union is calling for its members strike on the following dates:
- From 12.01am on Monday, December 2 until 11.59 on Wednesday, December 11
- From 12.01am on Friday, December 13 until 11.59pm on Tuesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)
- From 12.0am on Friday, December 27 until 11.59pm on January 1, 2020.
With Sunday, December 1, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well as the day of the general election on Thursday, December 12, being the only days in December that the union is not calling for strikes on.
Speaking about the industrial action, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Our members have been left with no choice but to call a further 27 days of strike action on South Western Railway.
‘At the last meeting we held with SWR principles in agreements were made in good faith with the company’s negotiating team and we now feel hugely let down again.
‘As long as the company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard we will remain in dispute.
‘I want to congratulate our members on their continued resolve in their fight for safety and the role of the guard on SWR. It is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been agreed.
‘The union remains available for talks.’