England

Talks to avert South Western Railway strike collapse

Strike notice
Image caption Union members staged have staged 24-hour strikes in the dispute over the role of guards

A fourth 24-hour strike over the role of guards on South Western Railway (SWR) is set to go ahead on Saturday after talks broke down.

The company said talks with the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) failed to reach a resolution.

A SWR statement said the union had failed to accept the same terms agreed on another franchise.

However the RMT said that "did not represent" what it had been told and it remained available for further talks.

Union members have staged three 24-hour walkouts in the dispute over the role of guards, causing disruption to services. The next is scheduled for Saturday.

SWR said in a statement that it was "disappointed" Wednesday's talks failed to reach a resolution, adding that the union had refused to accept conditions which it had previously agreed with Greater Anglia railway.

"Despite again giving assurances that we will roster a guard on all our services, including the new suburban fleet to be introduced in 2019, the union refused to agree to some flexibility during disruption, as they have with Greater Anglia," the statement said.

Image caption The remaining strikes are scheduled for 4, 11, 18, 31 August and 1 September

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "The statement from SWR does not represent what we were told when talks broke up.

"As far as RMT is concerned the talks process remains live and the company were going back to their bosses in Aberdeen and Hong Kong to consider the main outstanding issues on the guard guarantee and the union proposals for a resolution to the dispute."

Previous walkouts took place last Tuesday, Saturday and Thursday last week. The remaining strikes are scheduled for 4, 11, 18, 31 August and 1 September.

The two sides had previously met for talks in May and June.

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