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TRANSPORT union RMT accused South Western Railway (SWR) today of cynically misleading the public by claiming it has a guard on all its services.
The union’s general secretary Mick Cash has now thrown down the gauntlet to the management of SWR, demanding a “yes or no answer” on keeping guards on trains.
SWR claimed to have committed to maintaining the guard on all rail services after RMT staff voted for a series of one-day strikes on the issue last week.
Following the 88 per cent vote in favour of the action, an SWR statement said: “We have repeatedly committed to rostering a guard on all our services.”
The company also inferred that the RMT was behaving hypocritically in negotiations and claimed that its offer to the union was the same as what Northern offered in exchange for the suspension of strikes.
However, the union claims that it has received no such offers from the company and remains in dispute.
Mr Cash rejected the allegations levelled at the union’s representatives, pointing out that his union’s demands for an iron-cast guarantee of a guard and driver on every service is different to “rostering” members of staff on services.
In a letter to SWR, Mr Cash said: “To try and portray this otherwise in public statements is entirely disingenuous on your part.
“Your statement is not only wholly factually incorrect but is a deliberate and cynical attempt to mislead the travelling public in the area covered by your franchise.
“I am giving you the opportunity right now to rectify the situation.
“Are you prepared, as you have stated, to meet the terms of the offer to RMT from Northern rail that every train will run with a guard on board in addition to the driver?
“It really is very simple – yes or no?”
SWR have been approached for comment by the Star, but did not respond at the time of going to press.
The three one-day strike actions are to take place on Friday February 22, Saturday March 9 and Saturday March 16.
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