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Posted on 27 July 2018 at 14:56 GMT

South Western rail workers' seven strike days to save guards begin

South Western rail workers on strike, joined by RMT president Sean Hoyle and Socialist Party members, 26.7.18, photo by Declan Clune

South Western rail workers on strike, joined by RMT president Sean Hoyle and Socialist Party members, 26.7.18, photo by Declan Clune   (Click to enlarge)

Rail workers on South Western Railway struck on 26 July against management's attempts to remove guards' safety-critical role on trains - so-called 'driver-only operation'.

Southern region Socialist Party members visited and stood in solidarity with members of transport union RMT on strike at railway stations in Basingstoke and Fratton, Portsmouth.

London region Socialist Party members supported the picket line at the Waterloo terminus. This was the first day of an action that will take place over seven more days throughout July, August and into September.

Picket at Waterloo, South West Railways strike July 2018

Picket at Waterloo, South West Railways strike July 2018   (Click to enlarge)

In Portsmouth, RMT president Sean Hoyle was among the group of committed activists on the picket line. He told us: "This strike is about safety and accessibility for all!"

In Basingstoke, the RMT strikers were joined by local disability activist Chris Hall from campaign group Parability. "We want to see a railway system that is available to everybody", he said. "Safety is also a priority and we want to see a nationalised railway as a service for the public and not for the profit of shareholders. I intend to be here every day the strike is held in support of the campaign."

Support and solidarity were evident from many members of the public who stopped to speak to those on the picket line.

A member of the public passing commented: "I don't think you can run a safe train without a guard."

Declan Clune, Southampton Socialist Party

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