WORKERS for South Western Railway, which runs Island Line, have today (Tuesday) announced plans to go on strike over Christmas.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers has declared 27 days of strike action will take place in December on South Western Railway services after the company withdrew a potential deal in negotiations over train guards.

The negotiations centred on getting assurances from South Western Railway not to move to driver-controlled operation – where drivers, rather than guards, are responsible for opening and closing the doors.

The strike action is set to take place between December 2 to December 11, followed by a strike from December 13 to December 24, and another from December 27 to January 1.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have been left with no choice but to call a further 27 days of strike action on South Western Railway.

“At the last meeting we held with SWR principles in agreements were made in good faith with the company’s negotiating team and we now feel hugely let down again.

"As long as the company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard we will remain in dispute.

“I want to congratulate our members on their continued resolve in their fight for safety and the role of the guard.

"It is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been agreed.

“The union remains available for talks.”