Basingstoke commuters should prepare for 48 hours of misery from rail strikes following an on-going dispute over the ‘attack’ on the role of the train guard.
Rail union RMT said in a statement last week members of four rail companies, including South Western Railways, have been instructed to take action on Wednesday, November 8 and Thursday, November 9.
They have been advised not to book in for any shifts on those two days, to show solidarity in protecting the role of the ‘safety-critical guard in the name of increased profits’.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in early November.
“RMT is demanding that the Government lift the central blockade on talks, allow us to negotiate freely with their contractors and give us the opportunity to pursue the objective of a guard guarantee that puts British passenger safety before the rank exploitation of our rail network by overseas operators who are laughing all the way to the bank.”
A spokesperson from South Western Railway said: “This is hugely disappointing given the positive talks we have been having with union representatives.
“Our discussions have been around the introduction of a new fleet of suburban trains by December 2020.
“As part of these discussions we have guaranteed that we will roster a guard on every train; and that those guards will continue to be trained in safety procedures.
“No one wants a strike. I still hope that common sense will prevail and the RMT will come back to the table and work with us to find a way forward.”