South Western Railway workers in fresh strike over guards dispute

Workers on the picket line at Waterloo Station Image copyright RMT
Image caption Further 24-hour strikes are planned for 17 and 24 November

Passengers on South Western Railway (SWR) are facing further travel disruption as workers stage a fresh 24-hour strike.

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) members walked out at midnight in the long-running row over the role of guards on new trains.

The RMT claims the company continues to refuse to engage in a serious talks process to reach an agreement.

SWR said it expected to run about half of normal services.

The train operator urged rugby fans travelling to Twickenham for England's match against South Africa to allow extra time or choose alternative routes or transport as services would be busier than usual.

SWR operates services from London Waterloo to Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Two-year dispute

There are some replacement buses running and SWR tickets will be accepted on some other bus and rail networks.

However on some routes there will be no trains running.

In a statement, the firm accused the union of "cynically targeting sports fans and families and friends wanting to attend fireworks displays".

In October SWR workers staged a five-day walkout, which was the longest strike in the two-year dispute of any rail operator.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said there had been 47% increase in violent assaults and a 167% increase in sexual offences on trains in the past ten years.

He said: "RMT has made it clear that we will not allow safety, security and access on our railways to be compromised in the drive for private profit."

An SWR spokesperson said: "We have guaranteed a guard to be rostered on every single service, and our growth plans mean more guards, not fewer."

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