South West Trains
GUARDS ON South West Trains (SWT) brought over 1,600 services to a standstill with a 24-hour strike last week. SWT runs services into London's Waterloo station from Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.
Even management claimed that only about 50 of its 1,700 scheduled services ran on Thursday. The 700 guards are in the RMT rail union and were due to strike again on Friday of this week.
The RMT union is campaigning nationally to retain guards on services, and for a ten-point programme protecting their conditions. That includes insisting that guards' safety responsibilities are placed above commercial considerations.
Guards play a crucial role in safety, identifying problems and evacuating passengers. But train operating companies are pressuring them to put collecting fares above those responsibilities. South West Trains management has tried to belittle the strike by claiming the issue is simply about the guards' uniform. "This is about an intransigent management not listening to workers' concerns," said one guard at Waterloo Station. They are squeezing us and the public's safety."