Train drivers strike to hit suburban lines

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The Independent Online

Passengers on one of the country's biggest rail firms were warned to expect disruption tomorrow because of a strike over the sacking of a woman train driver.

South West Trains said its suburban services out of London's Waterloo station will be worst hit by the 24-hour walkout by members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union.

Drivers and guards based at Waterloo are taking action in support of Sarah Friday, who SWT says was sacked for serious breaches of her employment contract.

A second strike is planned for March 31 and the union has warned that the action could escalate.

The company said its mainline services should be near normal despite the strike, but disruption is likely on suburban lines out of Waterloo to Reading, Windsor, Epsom, Dorking and Shepperton.

"We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused but we will do everything we can to run services," said a spokeswoman.

Ms Friday, who alleges she was sacked because of her union activity, is taking a claim for unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.

An interim hearing earlier this week found it was unlikely she would win, but she is pressing ahead with her claim.

SWT carries around 200,000 passengers into and out of Waterloo every day.