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  1. ITV Report

27 days of South Western Railway strikes to go ahead after ACAS talks failed

The RMT union has confirmed that 27 days of strike action by South Western Railway workers - due to start on Monday, is going ahead after talks with conciliation service ACAS failed.

The industrial action which is set to last throughout December is in an on-going dispute over the role of guards on trains - and will cause travel disruption for commuters, Christmas shoppers and people visiting families over the festive break.

Members of the RMT union will walk out on Monday in a dispute over the role of the guard Credit: ITV Meridian

Talks were held over the past two days at the conciliation service Acas but ended without agreement. The union accused the company of "wrecking" attempts to reach a deal in the long-running row over the role of guards on trains.

Around 900 trains a day will be cancelled during the action - which will last until January 1st.

Passengers travelling over Christmas will be affected by the industrial action Credit: ITV Meridian

“RMT is angry and frustrated that a set of proposals that would have guaranteed the safety-critical role of the guard at the point of despatch, and which would have cost the company absolutely nothing, have been kicked back in our faces. There is no rational explanation for the company position and we can only assume that either they or their paymasters in Government want this strike action to go ahead for politically motivated purposes.

“The union also believes that cutting the guard out of the despatch process reduces the second person on the train to little more than a passenger in the longer term which would give the company the option of axing them all together at some point down the line. Both the union and the travelling public are being set up and that stinks.

“Our action goes ahead from Monday in defence of passenger safety and accessibility and the blame for that lies wholly with SWR and their wrecking strategy. The union remains available for talks and we have a deal to solve this dispute which is cost free for SWR worked up and ready to go. The company should grab it with both hands and avoid the disruption to services their actions will unleash.”

– RMT general secretary Mick Cash

"This strike is the last thing any of us wanted. We will do everything possible to get you where you need to go but ask that you leave more time for your journey and check before you travel for the latest information."

– SWR spokesperson