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  1. ITV Report

Christmas train disruption expected as strikes set to go ahead

A near month-long strike by rail workers is set to go ahead after talks failed to resolve a long-running dispute over guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway are due to strike for 27 days from December 2.

The action will cause huge disruption for commuters and Christmas shoppers.

SWR runs services to and from London Waterloo, the country's busiest station.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT has attended discussions under the auspices of Acas for the past two days to discuss the issues in dispute.

"No proposals that would enable the development of a resolution to the dispute have been put forward by SWR.

"Throughout these talks SWR have not shown any intention of moving the issues at the heart of the dispute forwards, despite verbal assurances in earlier discussions.

"It has become increasingly clear that they are not interested in reaching a settlement at this time.

"As a result of the company attitude all planned action remains on, and the union is committed to ensuring the safest possible method of operation.

"RMT will remain available for discussions with the company at any time."

An SWR spokesman said: "We're very disappointed. Despite promising to keep guards on all our trains and promising that they will have a safety-critical role, the talks broke down today.

"We believe these promises deliver on what the RMT has been asking for, so these strikes are unnecessary.

"We remain committed to finding a solution that works for our customers and we remain open to talks if the RMT decides to reconsider its position.

"In the meantime, our focus has to be on planning and delivering a train service for our customers."