South Western Railway say one in three guards are turning up for work in spite of the strike action by the RMT. The company say it means more services than expected are running.

It comes as the Union is not ruling out more walkouts and insist the action among its members is solid.

Guards are striking for a month in the row over who operates train doors and dispatches trains at the busiest rail service in Europe. Almost half of services have been cancelled.

Members of the RMT union on South Western Railway are staging their eighth successive day of action today (Monday) as part of 27 strike days throughout December.

Picket lines were again mounted outside stations across the network and hundreds of services were cancelled, including commuter trains to London Waterloo. The RMT said it had intended to table its plan during recent talks at the conciliation service Acas.

Members of the RMT union on SWR are staging their eighth successive day of strike action Credit: ITV Meridian

SWR said it wants a guard on every train, with a safety-critical role, but it wants them to spend more time helping passengers, including those in wheelchairs and with buggies.

The union said its plan would ensure there is an active safety-critical guard on every passenger train, and guards would retain their safety-critical competencies, including an active role in the safe despatch of trains. The RMT said it is possible to create a method of despatch in which the guard has an active and defined role as well as being able to provide passenger assistance.

"As our members stand solid and united with this phase of SWR strike action entering its second week, we are literally three seconds away from a deal that would achieve both our objectives and the company's, and I would appeal to SWR to get out of their bunker and back into Acas with the union to bolt down a settlement.

General secretary of the RMT, Mick Cash