Long-running dispute over guards on South Western Railway settled

South Western Railway strike
South Western Railway strike
Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Railway workers have accepted a deal to end a long-running dispute over guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on South Western Railway (SWR) voted to back an agreement, which draws to a close one of the longest-running industrial disputes in decades.

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The union said it has secured a guarantee of a guard on all trains on SWR, which runs services across southern England.

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RMT general secretary Mick Cash said in a message to members: “The union has achieved a guarantee from the company that a guard will remain on all passenger trains.”

The union recommended the deal for acceptance.

The union held more than 70 days of strikes between 2017 and 2020, causing huge disruption to services.

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An SWR spokesman said: “After extensive and constructive negotiations with the RMT, we can confirm our colleagues have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a deal to end the long-running dispute over the role of the guard.

“This agreement is an important milestone on our journey to providing an even better experience for our customers while providing certainty for our colleagues and the communities we serve.

“All parties can now move on from the disruption this dispute has caused and focus on welcoming our customers back to a more punctual, reliable and customer-friendly railway in the coming months.”

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