Is Christmas peace about to break out in rail disputes?


The union behind 28 days of rail strikes over the Christmas season has said it believes there is a deal to be done as it meets bosses for peace talks.

The RMT has called out its members on South Western Railway (SWR) from next Monday (2 December) up to and including 1 January, with only three non-strike days.

An SWR train at Waterloo

However the RMT and SWR have now agreed to meet today (27 November) at conciliation service ACAS ‘following a further exchange of correspondence’.

A union spokesperson said: ‘The RMT team will be led by general secretary Mick Cash and we believe that there is a deal there to be done and the union will work tirelessly to secure that objective.’

As reported on Transport Network yesterday, the sticking point in the longrunning dispute appears to be the issue over the guard’s role once responsibility for opening and closing train doors has passed to the driver.

Mr Cash said: ‘We have agreements with First and other companies on new fleet where there is a guard on every train and the driver releases the doors but only closes them on the instruction of the guard when dispatch is completed and passenger safety assured. That is the issue on SWR.’

If SWR agrees to this process, that would appear to provide the basis for an agreement.

Separately, it has been reported that union chiefs are offering to stop demonstrations at the HS2 site at Euston in December if the a Costain/Skanska joint venture (CSJV), which is in charge of enabling works, hands out Christmas turkeys to workers.

Construction Enquirer has now seen an email sent by union officials to CSJV employment chiefs proposing ‘peace at Christmas’.

The turkeys would be provided in the form of a £25 supermarket voucher.

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