South Western Railway strikers join coordinated strike action on five rail networks against driver-only operation

Today the largest rail franchise in the country, South Western Railway, saw strike action from RMT guards across the network, striking for safety.

The RMT want to ensure a second, qualified safety-critical person on all trains at all times, trade to deal with:

major incidents, emergency protection on trains, controlled and emergency evacuations, electrical isolations, on-train equipment, train defects, unruly/unsocial behaviour, assisting elderly, infirm and disabled passengers, giving information, route diversions, on-board fires, signalling systems and regulations, suspect articles/behaviour, on-board illness and train despatch. The RMT want to secure safety comes before profit. Below is an article written by Socialist Party RMT members

Rail workers’ union RMT has announced coordinated strikes on five different networks to defeat the threat of driver-only operation (DOO).

Workers will walk out on Southern, South Western Railway and Greater Anglia for 48 hours from 8 November and will be joined by those on Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North for 24 hours on the same date.

The RMT has been in dispute with Southern for over 18 months now with strike action spreading to Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and most recently Greater Anglia. South Western Railway will be taking action for the first time.

Train drivers’ union Aslef has held talks with Southern and is currently balloting members on a deal to end the dispute there. Though Aslef rejects DOO, the deal would accept the argument for train guards becoming non-safety critical and for trains to run without them under various operational circumstances.

The result will be known on 8 November – the same day as the RMT strikes. Aslef members on Southern should reject this deal. If they do DOO extension will suffer a fatal setback.

It’s clear the government is using Southern as its battering ram to begin the final destruction of the guard grade on Britain’s railways. Any settlement which allows a passenger train to run without the second member of staff – under any circumstances – will open up a breach in the battle to retain a safety-critical second member of staff on trains.

The Socialist Party supports the RMT‘s strike action. DOO should be totally eliminated from the railway, not extended.

Socialism 2017 (11 and 12 November, central London)

RMT President, Sean Hoyle will speaking

on Labour and the Trade Unions

at Socialism 2017

on Saturday 11 November, 3pm

Committee Room 1, Institute of Education,

London WC1 0AL 


Find out more and book tickets at

Read this week's #NSSN bulletin no.566: Workers start 2022 on the picket line!

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