Portsmouth train passengers to be hit by more rail strikes

Commuters in a crowded South Western Railway train on the Portsmouth to London line during rail strikes in January this year Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire
Commuters in a crowded South Western Railway train on the Portsmouth to London line during rail strikes in January this year Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire
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Workers on South Western Railway are to stage fresh strikes in the long-running dispute over the role of guards.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out for three days from June 21.

The union said the action will hit South Western Railway’s (SWR) services, which include busy commuter routes to London Waterloo, including from Portsmouth.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘RMT has made every effort to progress talks with South Western Railway but there has been a total lack of goodwill from the company and as a consequence we have no option but to confirm this further round of industrial action.

‘The responsibility for this escalation rests solely with the company who know full well that the union won’t stand aside while they play fast and loose with both the talks process and the safety and well-being of the general public.

‘We have long detected the dead hand of the government interfering to stop us reaching negotiated settlements in the current disputes and it’s about time Transport Secretary Chris Grayling stopped playing politics with passenger safety and started taking the issue seriously.

‘He should be putting pressure on his rail contractors to reach a settlement rather than encouraging this cavalier approach to passenger safety and disabled access.

‘RMT remains committed to the principle of genuine and meaningful talks in this dispute.’