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Talks fail to resolve union dispute with South Western Railway

Further strikes are planned for the next three Saturdays.

Talks aimed at averting more strikes by rail workers in the bitter dispute over the role of guards have ended without agreement.

Managers from South Western Railway met officials of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in a bid to resolve the row.

The company said the talks failed to reach a resolution.

RMT members have staged three 24-hour strikes in the past few days, causing disruption to services.

Further 24-hour strikes are set to be held on the next three Saturdays, followed by a 48-hour stoppage from August 31.

SWR said in a statement: “We are disappointed that despite our best efforts today’s talks with the RMT have failed to reach a resolution.

“We had hoped that by mirroring the wording of the agreement reached recently with Greater Anglia we could end this damaging dispute for the sake of our passengers and employees.

“However the RMT has refused to accept on SWR what they have accepted on Greater Anglia.

“Despite again giving assurances that we will roster a guard on all our services, including the new suburban fleet to be introduced in 2019, the union refused to agree to some flexibility during disruption, as they have with Greater Anglia.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The statement from SWR does not represent what we were told when talks broke up this afternoon.

“As far as RMT is concerned the talks process remains live and the company were going back to their bosses in Aberdeen and Hong Kong to consider the main outstanding issues on the guard guarantee and the union proposals for a resolution to the dispute.

“RMT remains available for further talks over the coming days and into ‎the weekend and we expect the company to be available as well and to adhere to the next stages of the process as agreed with them this afternoon.”

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