Fringe Box



Train Company Warns Next Week’s Strike Action Will Have Bigger Effect

Published on: 26 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 28 Aug, 2023

By Martin Giles

Rail passengers face further disruption next week. SWR is advising customers to only travel if their journeys are absolutely necessary on Friday and Saturday, September 1st and 2nd.

Friday, September 1 will be the first strike action on the SWR network involving mainline drivers and SWR warns “a lot fewer trains running and with the majority of the network closed”.

Great Western Railways, which operates the Reading-Guildford-Redhill/Gatwick service, says it will run: ” a very limited service… AM/PM peak only” on the route.

Previous days of ASLEF Union strike action was limited to depot drivers, who bring trains in and out of service.

See also: More Woe for Rail Passengers on the Portsmouth Line This Weekend

In addition to RMT Union strike action taking place today (Saturday, August 26), members of the ASLEF Union will take strike action on Friday, September 1.

This will be followed by an ASLEF Union ban on overtime working, together with strike action by members of the RMT Union, on Saturday, September 2.

With a shortage of mainline drivers, SWR will run an extremely limited service with the majority of the network closed. Customers are advised that there will be fewer trains than on previous strike days. Trains will only run between the hours of 0700 and 1900 as follows:

There will be only one train per hour from Guildford to Woking where there will be four trains per hour to London.

There will be no service on the Isle of Wight’s Island Line on Friday (September 1) but a full service on Saturday.

Journey planners are now up to date and the latest information is available at:

To those who must travel SWR says they should check their entire journey as other train operators will be affected on both days of strike action.

Stuart Meek, South Western Railway’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “This is the first time our network has been subject to full strike action by members of the ASLEF Union and, as a result, we are only able to offer an extremely limited service on Friday, 1 September.

“Friday, 1 September will be different to previous days of strike action with a lot fewer trains running and with the majority of the network closed. Our advice to customers is to not travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary. The few services we will be running are likely to be extremely busy and we may have to use queuing systems and crowd control measures.

“A significantly reduced service will operate the following day, Saturday 2 September, with more lines open but with large parts of the network still closed. Trains will only run between 0700 and 1900 and so our advice, again, is to only travel if journeys are absolutely necessary.

“We’re really sorry for the disruption.”

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has written to the Rail Delivery Group saying the two sides needed to navigate a way through the row.

Mick Lynch RMT

In the letter released on Saturday, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “I believe that both parties are of the view that we need to navigate a way through the dispute and from the RMT’s position that would mean the following suggested stages:

“A one-year pay proposal for all companies covering the year 2022-2023, with an underpin, backdated to the relevant anniversary dates in 2022.

“A guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

“An undertaking that discussions with RMT within the companies, including formal consultations and negotiations, will be deferred until the outcome and determination from the ticket office closures consultation has been provided by the government and, in any case, that these discussions will not commence before 1st December 2023.

“A commitment that the existing collective bargaining structures and processes in each company will be respected and adhered to in full including consultation and negotiation as appropriate to the matters in scope and, if necessary, use of Avoidance of Dispute processes.

“A commitment that pay negotiations for the year 2023–2024 will commence from 1st December 2023.

“In using the above staged programme, I believe that we can bring clarity to everyone in the industry, that they will receive a pay increment for the previous year 2022/2023, with a guarantee of employment going forward, and that all of the change agenda that the companies wish to propose will be known in full and then addressed appropriately through the respective machineries in each of the companies.”

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