Island Line staff strike over attempts to remove guards from trains

The strike by RMT members is designed to fight attempts by South Western Railway to remove guards from their trains.

rmt strike from julian critchley

Isle of Wight Labour Party parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley, shares this latest news. Ed

This morning (Friday), Island Labour parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley, joined RMT members’ picket line outside Ryde Esplanade station.

The RMT Union are striking over a dispute with railway companies over issues of passenger safety. Shortly after New Year, South Western Railway, who run the Island Line from Ryde to Shanklin, were called in before the independent transport regulator to explain their recent poor performance. The strike by RMT members is designed to fight attempts by the company to remove guards from their trains.

An RMT spokesperson, said,

“Our reasons for striking are purely for passenger safety. The guard doesn’t just open and close the doors: they assist disabled passengers; they sell tickets; give information for onward travel; they assist the driver in the event of an emergency; they can if needed, evacuate the train; they assist unwell passengers; they keep passengers safe from drunk abusive passengers; and they ensure the train operates to current safety requirements. All this is put at risk without a guard on board.”

Mr Critchley said,

“It’s essential to show solidarity with the union members on this issue. Quite clearly our national rail network is in crisis. Privatised train companies have hugely increased fares to passengers, and now seem willing to place passengers at risk in order to maintain profit margins. I want to travel on safe trains, and that means supporting RMT in its fight to maintain appropriate staffing.

“It is farcical that the only country in the world whose government isn’t allowed to own British railways is the British government. We’ve only recently seen the outrageous subsidy bunged to Richard Branson for his failure on the East Coast line. The Government also recently threw millions at Southern Rail.

“This is the worst kind of crony capitalism, where profits are privatised while losses have to be covered by the ordinary taxpayer. The next Labour government will take our railways back into public ownership, and run them for the benefit of citizens, not overseas shareholders.”

Friday, 12th January, 2018 2:44pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Train

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7 Comments on "Island Line staff strike over attempts to remove guards from trains"

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On Island Line trains the guards open and close the doors and sell tickets too. This is because the ticket office is often closed.


I look forward to Mr Critchley’s coming out against bailing out Carillion, then. We wouldn’t want their “losses” (ie deliberate mis-management to maintain the flow of government business while misleading investors) to be covered by taxpayers, would we? No matter how many jobs will be lost? Or how many pensions will be put at risk?


I understand that 28 RMT guards booked on duty at Fratton on Weds. And others are leaving the Union in protest. Like other front line operational staff, I’ve accepted better pay in the last 20 years….


Where did you get the figure of 28 rmt guards from?


I’m a railway trade journalist and cannot divulge my source but is from within the depot. Check out Railnews and Heritage Railway Magazine which both carry a double page spread on the 14 Dec Shanklin theatre meeting.


The next Labour government, Julian? Shouldn’t you practise being an opposition first?

I do wish the IoW could set itself aside from the rest of the UK and not be forever trying to win so called “political points” on everything that happens. The Island Line should see itself as apart from the mainland rail. After all, they ignore us when it comes to investing in our line. Our rolling stock was out of date 50 years ago! Those on… Read more »