Christmas travel to be disrupted as new rail strikes announced

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COMMUTERS in the south of England may face problems getting home for Christmas, as rail staff prepare to strike on the Saturday before Christmas Day.

Members of the RMT Union working for South Western Railway will be holding a strike on Saturday, December 22, causing travel problems in Portsmouth and the rest of the Solent region.

Workers at the company are to strike on December 22 in the long-running dispute over guards on trains. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Workers at the company are to strike on December 22 in the long-running dispute over guards on trains. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘South Western Railway continues to refuse to resolving this dispute, which is about safety, security and access while the company look to open up a loophole that would allow them to run driver-only services at their discretion.

‘Recent figures have shown a shocking a surge in violence on our railways.

‘It is frankly appalling that South Western Railway are looking for a green light to throw the guard off their trains as and when they see fit in the name of profit.

‘There's a simple solution to this dispute and it means SWR stop playing with words and negotiate the guard guarantee that reflects the safety values of the agreements RMT has pinned down in other parts of the rail industry.’

Exact details of how the strike will affect the Portsmouth region have not yet been announced.