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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 August 2018

Bournemouth train guards' RMT strike

Striking RMT guards at Fratton, Portsmouth, photo RMT

Striking RMT guards at Fratton, Portsmouth, photo RMT   (Click to enlarge)

RMT guards on strike on 31 July in Bournemouth were united in their continuing action against driver-only operated trains. One of the pickets said that South Western Railway has refused to guarantee a safety-critical guard on every passenger train. This is the safest working method which ensures access for all passengers.

The elderly, vulnerable and disabled know they can use any service without advanced booking. The RMT views any changes to this as a retrograde step and a move away from a progressive, safe and inclusive transport network.

The striker went on to say that the dispute has lasted for ten months and there had been meetings with the company including at conciliation service Acas. The talks have collapsed and it seems clear that South Western Railway only wished to delay, obfuscate and play with words. RMT guards remain resolute in the face of their threats, false assurances and media condemnation.

There have been two strong votes in favour of industrial action despite the draconian anti-trade union laws. Furthermore, in response to the sacking of two Bournemouth guards during the strike, Bournemouth and Weymouth guards returned a massive 'yes' vote for action in defence of their colleagues who have been dismissed in circumstances including the use of an illicit covert recording gained without permission and accepted and used by the company.

Jane Ward

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