Liberal Democrat candidate for Winchester and Chandlers Ford, Paula Ferguson, along with Lynda Murphy, candidate for Eastleigh, have joined Edward Davey, Sarah Olney, Munira Wilson, Paul Kohler, Monica Harding, Sue Wixley and Mark Gitsham in writing to South Western Railway and the RMT to demand that they stop the planned strikes immediately.
Members of the RMT will walk out for 27 days throughout December, causing chaos to commuters, to businesses and to people travelling for Christmas.
The letter from Paula and Lynda Murphy is below:
Dear Andy & Mick
We are writing to you to express our concern and dismay regarding the planned 27 days of strike action on the SWR network in December.
Many of the people we hope to serve in Parliament will be severely impacted by any strike on our railways, let alone 27 days.
Hundreds of thousands of residents across the South West are set to have their daily commute thrown in to chaos. As well as disrupting and inconveniencing individual passengers, businesses will be hit by these strikes as commuters cannot get to work promptly, if at all. School children will have their education disrupted if they cannot get to class on time.
Christmas shoppers, who are the life blood of a lot of small businesses, may be deterred, and could be tempted to buy online instead of in our wonderful independent shops. People planning Christmas parties or planning to see friends and family, will face misery.
We urge that you both secure a resolution to the ongoing industrial dispute regarding guards and driver-operated trains immediately - and that these strikes are called off now.
Please do not hold the residents of Hampshire to ransom in this way, many of whom spend thousands of pounds on their season tickets to use your services.
We demand better of our rail services and the unions.
Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Winchester and Chandler's Ford
Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Eastleigh
The Lib Dems have also launched a petition calling on both parties to secure a resolution to the dispute. (The London and Surrey version of the petition is here).