South Western Railway staff are about to strike for so long that it may be quicker to build a standalone rail line to run alongside the existing tracks and use that instead of trying to negotiate a solution, as workers are about to embark on a planned 27 days of action through December and January.
SWR is striking with the support of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, which is backing staff calls for bosses to reiterate their support for workers fulfilling the role of guard on the trains. That's it, it's entirely about staff not wanting a "Driver Controlled Operation" system introduced that may see guards one day replaced by robots, smart barriers, or a series of interns doing it for free and as much as they can eat from the buffet trolley instead.
Workers allied with the union have been told to take the week off starting from December 2, and not to show up for 11 solid days between December 13 and 24, then again from December 27 until January 1. Basically train travel through December is entirely bollocksed if you're planning to go home to see your parents for Christmas, and they live in Bournemouth, Exeter, Southampton and all the other south-west-ish cities served by the franchise where mums and dads usually live. [RMT]