close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
P
Pa
December 8, 2019

Double whammy for Xmas shoppers hit by rail strike, engineering work

Top Story

P
Pa
December 8, 2019

LONDON: A strike by rail workers in the long-running dispute over guards on trains, coupled with engineering work, will cause travel misery for passengers this weekend.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on South Western Railway walked out on Saturday for the sixth time since last Monday as part of 27 days of industrial action until New Year’s Day. Picket lines were again mounted outside stations across the SWR network, and the action caused huge disruption on one of the busiest shopping weekends of Christmas.

Many services were cancelled or replaced by buses and those that were running were expected to be much busier than normal. The dispute over the role of guards remains deadlocked more than two years since it flared up.

The disruption was compounded by weekend engineering and maintenance work which is causing a number of line closures, including between Bournemouth and Poole, in the Twickenham area, and between London Waterloo and Kingston.

All lines in the Leatherhead area will be closed all day on Sunday for maintenance work. The two sides have exchanged letters in recent days, with the union calling for fresh talks at the conciliation service Acas.

The RMT says the dispute now centres on whether guards should have a few seconds to make sure trains leave platforms safely. SWR managing director Andy Mellors said in a letter that further talks must be on the proviso that the union has a “new solution” to safely delivering over 10 million more peak-time passenger journeys on time each year.

An RMT spokesman said: “The union will continue to push for a negotiated settlement that protects passenger safety and our members remain rock-solid in the ongoing action.

“We are bitterly disappointed that the company are throwing obstacles in the way of a settlement which is about nothing more than three seconds extra time on the despatch process in the interests of safety.” Services between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight were disrupted because of a train fault. Passengers were told the problem is expected to affect services until next week.