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South Western Railway and Eurostar rail workers to strike

South Western Railway and Eurostar rail workers to strike

Rail workers at South Western Railway and Eurostar are set to strike for 24 hours over separate disputes.Eurostar RMT union members say they face "dangerous" overcrowding at London's St Pancras station, while the SWR strike is over the long-running dispute about the role of guards.SWR said half of its services - in south-west London and southern counties of England - will be cancelled.Eurostar said a normal service will run as other workers will cover the shifts.Further SWR strikes are planned for the coming weeks, including on Tuesday 31 July, following a walkout on Thursday.
The RMT has said changing the role of guards and extending driver-only services would compromise staff and passenger safety.The union has accused the company of putting "private profits before public safety".SWR said it will provide longer trains on Saturday, but passengers were advised to check their journey before travelling.
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A company statement said it was "frustrating and disappointing" that the RMT strike was going ahead and apologised to passengers."This is despite proposals we have put forward which are similar to that of another train operator, Greater Anglia, which the RMT has recently agreed to."We are urging the RMT to return to talks and end this damaging disruption to passengers."
About 140 staff are involved in the Eurostar dispute, with the union saying the international terminal at St Pancras had been reduced to "chaos".Staff were bearing the brunt of public anger over delays to services, it said.RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The conditions at St Pancras have been simply appalling in recent weeks, with dangerous levels of overcrowding on the concourse as services plunge into meltdown on the cusp of the busiest part of the year."RMT will not tolerate a position where our members are left to pick up the pieces due to corporate failures."The union said it was going to ballot train managers for industrial action over the same issue.A Eurostar spokesman said: "If the strike action goes ahead, our plan is to run a normal service so that all passengers booked to travel with Eurostar will be able to do so."
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