WORKERS involved in the long-running train guards’ dispute have voted heavily in favour of continuing their industrial action, signalling the threat of further disruption to passengers.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on Weymouth-Waterloo operator South Western Railway (SWR) have staged a series of strikes this year and will walk out for 24 hours again tomorrow and on September 15.

Unions involved in disputes now have to re-ballot their members every six months under recently introduced legislation. The RMT said its members on SWR voted by 88 per cent to continue with the dispute.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have stood united and solid and have renewed the mandate to carry on the fight to put public safety before private profit.

“It is a disgrace that South Western Railway have opted to play for time over the past six months rather than acting responsibly and getting round the table with the union to work out a solution to this dispute that puts safety and the guard guarantee centre stage.”

A SWR spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the ballot.

“Guards have a major role to play in the future of this franchise, and we urge the RMT to come back to talks and help us find a way forward, rather than subject their colleagues and customers to further unnecessary strike action.”

“Our plans to improve this railway will mean more guards, not fewer; and we have guaranteed to roster a second person with safety critical competencies on all our trains. A resolution is possible, but it will require talks not strikes.”