South Western Railway guards and drivers are going on strike for 27 days in December.
Staff of the train operating company who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union have been instructed not to report for shifts during the following periods:
- 00:01 on Monday 2 December until 23:59 on Wednesday 11 December
- 00:01 on Friday 13 December until 23:59 on Tuesday 24 December
- Not to book on duty from 00:01 on Friday 27 December until 23:59 on 1 January 2020
Considering that services don't run on 25 and 26 December, that leaves passengers with just Sunday 1 December and Thursday 12 December to travel without interruption.
Why are South Western Railway staff on strike?
As with strikes on the same services earlier this year, it's all down to a dispute over the role of guards on South Western Railway, with the possibility that guards will be eliminated completely under the company's new operational model. The RMT now claims that the train operating company "dangled a potential breakthrough deal in front of the union and then failed to honour it, offering no reasons for the delay."
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
At the last meeting we held with SWR principles in agreements were made in good faith with the company’s negotiating team and we now feel hugely let down again. As long as the company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard we will remain in dispute.
I want to congratulate our members on their continued resolve in their fight for safety and the role of the guard on SWR.
The union remains available for talks.
It's not yet known what effect the strikes will have on services, but we'll be avoiding Waterloo as much as we can in December.