Compulsory arbitration is needed to prevent crippling industrial disputes in
the future, claimed the HR director of South West Trains.
Beverley Shears, who has led the pay negotiations with the RMT, said that
throughout the dispute the rail company offered the RMT union the route of
voluntary arbitration. The union has repeatedly refused the request.
Shears said: "Compulsory arbitration is a good idea because arbitration
after strike action is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has
Shears’ comments follow a call by the Industrial Society for the government
to consider introducing compulsory arbitration in disputes damaging to
essential public services and the wider economy.
Will Hutton, the Industrial Society’s chief executive said: "Our
concern is the failure to make adequate use of the arbitration option to help
An RMT spokesman said, "We have a policy to never going to compulsory
arbitration. We cannot let a rogue chairman decide something that is against
the best interests of our members."
Anticipating the next strike action, due on 12-13 February, South West
Trains has trained 200 managers to perform the roles of guards and ticket
collectors. Up to 800 trains will run during the strike, Shears claimed.
HR managers have been trained in customer service and train dispatching
roles to cover for operational managers who will work on trains and platforms.