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Travel chaos looms as strike called on New Year’s Eve



Travellers are facing New Year’s Eve chaos after South Western Railway workers called two new 24-hour strikes over the holiday period.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union members will walk out on 27 and 31 December, in addition to a previously announced strike on 22 December in the bitter dispute over guards on trains.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This latest phase of action in the long-running dispute on South Western Railway comes solely as a result of the company’s intransigence when it comes to reaching a negotiated settlement that would underpin the guard guarantee on their trains.

“South Western Railway stubbornly refuse to make any progress at all in resolving this dispute, which is about safety, security and access.

“The company is hell-bent on opening up a loophole that would allow them to run services driver-only at their discretion.

“Recent figures have shown a shocking surge in violence on our railways across the festive season and it is frankly
appalling that South Western Railway are looking for a green light to throw the guard off their trains as and when they see fit in the name of profit.”

The decision to call a strike on New Year’s Eve is likely to disrupt party plans for thousands in the capital and surrounding counties, on one of the busiest nights of the year.

The RMT called on the company to negotiate a guard guarantee it has agreed with other operators.

RMT members on Arriva Rail North are striking on every Saturday for the rest of the year in the same dispute.

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