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Coordinated action to keep guards on trains

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Issue 2568
Protesting on the first day of South West trains new franchise
Protesting on the first day of South West trains’ new franchise (Pic: RMT)

Rail union RMT announced a series of strikes in its ongoing campaign against the bosses’ push to extend driver only operation (DOO) and get rid of guards. This is a plan driven by the Tory government.

Workers at three companies—Southern, Northern and Merseyrail—are set to walk out on 1 September for a coordinated strike and kick off four days of action.

Guards on Southern are to begin a four-day strike that day. Merseyrail workers are then back out on 3 and 4 September. Northern workers will walk out again on 4 September.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said, “The public, who support RMT’s campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains, will be appalled.

“Arriva Rail North have failed yet again to offer any kind of progress whatsoever in the talks. They have instead opted to try and bulldoze through their plans regardless.

“It is that flagrant disregard for the safety issues which leaves us with no option but to press on with strikes.”

Meanwhile RMT members protested at Waterloo station in London on Monday to demand South West trains bosses give a guarantee over retaining guards. It was the first day of the new franchise.

A company poster says, “Guards—to help keep you informed and safe on our train we employ ‘legends’—well, at least that’s what our customers think.” But they won’t guarantee those “legends” stay.

RMT is currently balloting Greater Anglia members after bosses failed to give that guarantee.

Pay ballot for tube workers

London Tube drivers are to be balloted for strikes over pay.

Aslef union official Finn Brennan announced the union is now formally in dispute with London Underground bosses over “failure to deliver on management pay deal commitments”.

These commitments were part of a 2015 pay deal and include a reduction of weekend working and the number of days worked a week.

Brennan said, “We cannot allow the company to simply walk away from parts of an agreement because it is no longer convenient for them.”

Aslef represents the majority of Tube drivers and is urging its members to vote yes in the ballot.

Drivers vote on action over sacking

Tube workers’ union RMT has extended a ballot of its driver members on the east of the Central Line to now include the west of the line. This follows a request by members to be balloted in defence of their colleague Danny Davis.

Danny was sacked last month for gross misconduct.

But the union says his treatment was “high-handed and overly severe”. It adds that the decision did not take enough account of mitigating factors and was inconsistent with similar and more serious incidents.

The union said, “His dismissal was unfair and is a further continuation of an increasingly common approach and abuse of the disciplinary procedures.”

Raymie Kiernan

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