DORSET commuters are facing another day of disruption on the railways, as Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) workers are set to strike for the third time this week.

RMT members, who walked out yesterday and Monday, are set to down tools tomorrow as well.

The union is striking in protest at possible moves by rail bosses to cut guards from some trains.

South Western Railway (SWR) passengers have been among the hardest hit this week, with the rail operator having cancelled hundreds of trains.

SWR has already operated a reduced service on the Poole to London Waterloo line during the two days of strike action.

There have been no trains at all between Weymouth, Dorchester and Poole, with buses laid on for passengers.

The same arrangement is in place for tomorrow.

SWT managing director Andy Mellors has described co-ordinated strikes by the RMT across five rail companies as “action designed to cause the maximum disruption to passengers”

Mr Mellors said: “We hope the RMT will realise that further action, which penalises both passengers and their own members – who face losing even more money – is pointless. Especially when we have offered assurances around terms and conditions, job security, the need for more guards in the future, and our guarantee to roster a guard on all our trains.”

He said to passengers: “I am sorry that you are again facing strike action.

“We will continue to try to find a solution to this damaging and unnecessary dispute.”

Yesterday, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said his members were “standing firm” in defence of rail safety.

Mr Cash also says the RMT has called on Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to organise summit talks on the guard issue.

“Mr Grayling’s silence speaks volumes and with the damning NAO (National Audit Office) report into the Southern Rail fiasco it ‎is becoming clearer by the minute that all the Tory Government are interested in is protecting the fat profits of the greedy private rail companies regardless of the impact on services and safety.”

The National Audit Office report has criticised the government’s management of the UK’s largest rail franchise, held by Govia Thameslink.

Govia manages Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern services.

Mr Cash said: “The strikes are about putting public safety before private profit. If RMT can cut deals in Wales and Scotland that guarantee a guard on the trains and which underpin public safety, security and access on our railways there is no reason we can’t reach the same agreements in England. The RMT is available anytime, anywhere and it is down to the rail companies and the Government to lift the blockade and make those talks happen.”

Passengers are being advised to check the SWT strike map and revised timetables before travel.