Fresh wave of strikes on South Western Railway announced

Cathy Adams

There will be fresh disruption for South Western Railway passengers later this month as a new wave of strikes is announced.

Staff will walk out on dates in February and March in an ongoing dispute about guards on trains.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) confirmed walkouts would take place on the line on Saturday 22 February, Saturday 9 March and Saturday 16 March, with guards and drivers instructed not to work on those days.

South Western Railway runs services from London Waterloo to destinations in Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire.

In a ballot, 88 per cent of RMT members voted in favour of the walkouts, the union said in a statement.

“RMT has been forced under the latest wave of Tory anti-union laws to ballot for a fourth time in the rail safety dispute on South Western Railway under the six month rule and once again our members have stood united and solid and have renewed the mandate to carry on the fight to put public safety before private profit,” said Mick Cash, RMT general secretary.

“We are obviously very disappointed for our customers that the RMT union plans to continue this needless industrial action,” a spokesperson for South Western Railway said.

“We have repeatedly committed to rostering a guard on all our services – the same assurance that seem to have been sufficient for the RMT to suspend its strikes elsewhere in the country only yesterday.

“No jobs are at risk and our plans over the course of the franchise mean we will need more guards, not fewer.”

The South Western Railway strikes follow a suspension of strikes on Northern Rail services following two years of disruption.

South Western Railway customers are no stranger to industrial action. There was a wave of walkouts during the Christmas period, causing disruption for sale shoppers.