PASSENGERS on the Weymouth-Waterloo line could be facing more rail disruption with further strikes potentially on the horizon.

As a month of strikes affecting South Western Railway draws to a close at the end of today, it is understood that transport workers' union RMT has begun to ballot its member for fresh industrial action.

The union called multiple strikes in 2019 over a long-running dispute with the rail operator concerning the role of guards.

These previous strikes were initiated after negotiations broke down between the two parties in November.

The Weymouth line has seen a reduced service during the strikes with an hourly shuttle running to Bournemouth instead of the usual two trains an hour to London.

A spokesman for South Western Railway said: "Passengers will be extremely frustrated that after calling 28 days of strike action through December and January, the RMT union is trying to take this dispute into yet another year.

"We’re open to talks with the union, but the RMT need to explain exactly what do they want instead of the written agreement they took away from ACAS on Thursday 28 November.

"If the RMT has new, alternative ways of safely delivering over 10m more peak-time passenger journeys on-time every year then they need to set these out.

"We want a guard on every train with a safety critical role.

"But we want to enable guards to spend more time helping people in wheelchairs and with buggies get on and off the train, walking up and down all the carriages and ensuring the safety of passengers, especially at times of need."

RMT has been contacted by the Echo for comment.

This move comes at a time when the government has announced its intention to introduce laws to reduce disruption during strikes.

The proposed laws would require a minimum level of service to continue under any strike.

However, RMT claims it is a move to ban transport strikes.

General Secretary Mick Cash said: "It hasn't taken long for the true colours of this new Tory Government to emerge. Banning strikes and denying workers the basic human right to withdraw their labour has been the hallmark of hard right, authoritarian regimes throughout history.

"Instead of attacking rail workers fighting to defend safety and disabled access any responsible Government would be tackling the scandal of private profiteering on Britain's railways which has reduced services to chaos.

"RMT will fight any plans to deny out members their basic human rights."