Eurostar And South Western Employees Launch Strike Action, Passengers Experience Delays

By Herbert Ortner, Vienna, Austria via Wikimedia Commons

Passengers in Britain will experience the brunt of two sets of strike action that were initiated by employees of Eurostar and South Western Railway (SWR). The staff have organised a walkout as a protest against their working conditions.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is currently locked in a dispute with SWR regarding the role of the train guards and with Eurostar for what it describes as “appalling” conditions at its hub station that is located at St Pancras International.

Mick Cash, the general secretary of the RMT, stated: “RMT Eurostar members have had enough of the company ignoring the dangerous overcrowding ‎and appalling working conditions at St Pancras and our SWR members are continuing the fight to put public safety before private profit. That is the common thread that unites both these disputes.”

He added: “RMT is available for genuine talks in both the Eurostar and the South Western Railway disputes and it is down to the companies involved to get their heads out of the sand and get serious.”

Eurostar stated that it was running a normal service since it was able to look for other staff members to fill the rota, however, SWR said that it was running a massively reduced service that may result in some stations not being served.

Over the past year, strike action has plagued SWR. Last Thursday marked the first day of a series of strikes that will occur this summer. The strikes are said to continue until September.

SWR said that ticket acceptance with other operators and rail replacement buses have been put in place wherever possible, with the company recommending the passengers to check the timetable of the strikes before travel.

Eurotunnel transports passengers in vans, cars, and other vehicles via the Channel Tunnel. The passengers who are using its service were also experiencing delays of a maximum of two and half hours and four hours for high vehicles because of the extremely hot weather yesterday that held back its services.

On Twitter, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle tweeted: “Folkestone Passenger service update: Up to 2.5 hours delay to booked departure for low vehicles; up to 4 hours delay for high vehicles. 90 minutes queue from junction 11a M20 to check-in.”

The company said that the affected passengers would be able to claim a full refund for any cancelled or delayed journeys.