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Strikers call for SWR to get around the table

STRIKING rail workers have called for South Western Railway (SWR) bosses to stop “jamming their heads in the sand” and end further travel disruption by negotiating with the RMT.

Workers on SWR have started a 27-day walkout on Monday to defend the role of safety-critical guards on train services.

They are encouraging SWR to re-enter discussions with the RMT after Acas negotiations collapsed last Thursday.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members are solidly supporting the second day of this phase of strike action and are standing firm the length and breadth of the franchise in defence of the role of the guard, accessibility and the safest method of train dispatch and operation.

“It is frankly ludicrous for the company to simply jam their heads in the sand rather than getting back round the table to get the same deal back on track that they pulled away from at the last minute in earlier negotiations.

“A deal is there to be done which would cost the company nothing and which would give the safety and accessibility guarantees at the platform-train interface that we have been seeking. SWR need to get out of the bunker and get back into talks.”

The company said it has given the union guarantees about having guards on its trains.

An SWR spokesman said: “We are always open to talks if the RMT is ready to work with us to improve our service and develop a more visible, customer-focused role for guards.”

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