England

South Western Railway workers to strike on eight days

South Western Rail
Image caption Previous action had been suspended following talks between the two sides

Workers on South Western Railway are set to go on strike for eight days over six weeks in the long-running dispute over the role of guards on trains.

The RMT union said rail bosses had "sabotaged" and made a "mockery" of talks over plans to roll out its driver-only operation.

The strikes will take place on 26, 28 and 31 July as well as on 4, 11, 18, 31 August and 1 September.

South Western Rail (SWR) said it was "disappointed" with the RMT's decision.

In a statement, the rail company said it was "surprised" the union had decided to call further strikes, "especially at a time when families want to be out and about enjoying the summer holidays".

"We will continue to seek a resolution and work hard to minimise any disruption to our customers," they added.

'Total contempt'

A previous planned strike by staff was called off in June by members of the RMT union.

‎RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "It was RMT's firm belief that a deal could be done and an agreement reached like we have with other train operating companies but that requires a responsible and grown up attitude from SWR.

"Instead they have treated the whole process with total contempt and that is why we have no option but to confirm a further round of strike action."

Mr Cash accused SWR of putting "private profits before public safety at a time of unprecedented and dangerous pressure on their services".

The RMT has said changing the role of guards and extending driver-only services would compromise staff and passenger safety, which the government denies.

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