The following is the content of an email received from Andy Mellors, Managing Director of South Western Railway, concerning imminent industrial action by the RMT union:
We have been notified by the union that it intends to hold six 24-hour strikes and one 48-hour strike over the next two months.
We are hugely disappointed by this decision, as we were still engaged in talks and believed progress was being made. Indeed, some of the proposals to resolve the dispute were put forward by the RMT and we agreed that those would be reflected when we wrote to the RMT General Secretary on 4 July with a framework agreement. As of today’s date, we have not received a response to our letter and yet industrial action has been announced.
We had hoped that this unnecessary action would not be something to be faced while the talks were taking place, but unfortunately, this was not the case and the union has informed us of its intention to carry out strike action on the mainland network on the following dates:
• Thursday 26 July 2018
• Saturday 28 July 2018
• Tuesday 31 July 2018
• Saturday 4 August 2018
• Saturday 11 August 2018
• Saturday 18 August 2018
• Friday 31 August 2018
• Saturday 1 September 2018.
Guards on the Island Line voted against strike action in the re-ballot that took place earlier this year, so no action will be taken on the Isle of Wight.
I can assure you that we are doing everything we can to find a resolution to this dispute and we will continue to engage with the union in positive dialogue, to seek out solutions. However, should this action go ahead, we will use our contingency guards to help ensure we deliver the best service possible to passengers. We will also make sure we advertise any changes to the train service as early as possible on our website.