New operator South Western Railway's first day of operations as union warn of industrial dispute

1 London

London News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search

The new operators of one of Britain’s busiest commuter franchises today began its first full day of operations — as union leaders warned of a pending industrial dispute. 

South Western Railway, which replaces South West Trains, operates across London and the south of England. 

It is a collaboration between UK transport firm FirstGroup and MTR, which runs the Hong Kong metro.

But rail union the RMT today staged a morning peak-time protest at Waterloo, calling on South Western Railway to provide “assurance” they will keep a guard on all their services. 

The new operator has pledged to have a second person on board but it is not known exactly what their duties will be.

A FirstGroup spokesman said: “We know that a second member of staff provides assurance to our passengers on trains and ensures we have capable colleagues on board to deliver assistance during the journey for anyone that needs help or advice while travelling on our trains.

“This is why we will always plan to retain two people on our services.”

The Standard understands the RMT’s controlling executive committee will meet to consider declaring a formal dispute with First/MTR in line with its national opposition to driver-only trains, which it claims is unsafe. 

Rail industry chiefs insist they are used safely across large parts of the UK.

Andy Mellors, managing director of South Western Railway, said: “I am disappointed that despite our reassurances about retaining two people on our services, the RMT has gone ahead with this protest.”

Commuters face increased disruption at Waterloo from Thursday due to engineering delays caused by last week’s train derailment. Platforms 1-14 will be out of use throughout the Bank Holiday weekend.

1 London

London News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search



Leave a Reply