INDUSTRIAL strikes are to go ahead over the Easter weekend, a trade union has confirmed.
Railway union, RMT, has agreed on a further phase of striking involving members on South Western Railway to take place next week from Good Friday until Easter Monday amid on-going safety disputes.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘It is frankly disgraceful that South Western Railway continue to point-blank refuse to engage with the union in meaningful talks over their plans to run trains without a safety-critical guard on board across this franchise.
‘Instead, they continue to resort to the crudest possible attempts to threaten, bully and harass our members fighting to put public safety before private profit.
‘RMT has repeatedly said that South Western Railway should call off their disgraceful attacks on their front-line staff and should start talking seriously with the union around an agreement that underpins the guard guarantee and ensures safe, accessible and secure services for all.
‘It is the continuing intransigent attitude of the company which means that this latest phase of industrial action goes ahead over Easter in an effort to force them to see sense and to drive them back to the negotiating table for genuine and meaningful talks.’
It comes as the two year anniversary of the train strikes in the south approaches.
Mr Cash added: ‘We know that this action will have a serious impact on services and the responsibility for the disruption caused will be wholly down to South Western Railway and their pig-headed attitude.
‘It is time for the company to get out of the bunker, stop threatening their staff and start talking.’
South Western Railway, which serves areas of Portsmouth, has apologised to passengers for the forthcoming delays.
In a statement the firm said: ‘We’re really sorry that once again, you are to be subjected to unnecessary industrial action by the RMT.
‘We plan to run our full service on all four days and will do everything we can to minimise any effect this strike action may have.
‘We do however advise you to check before you travel.’
SWR is running a Saturday timetable on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Neither organisation has confirmed the particular areas that will be affected by the strikes.