Rail commuters face more misery on South Western Railway in the coming months, after staff voted for more strike action in the long-running dispute over the role of train guards.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has not yet announced strike dates, but the action follows a record-breaking 27-day strike in December
More than 80 per cent of workers who took part in a ballot supported further walkouts.
South Western said it was disappointed with the result, after the previous industrial action disrupted 600,000 passenger journeys each day.
The operator said the action was approved by less than half of eligible union members.
It added: “We hope the RMT will use the next few weeks as a window of opportunity to work with us to find a solution so that our passengers do not suffer more unnecessary disruption.”
The vote comes as another blow to the operator, which faces the prospect of being stripped of the franchise in the coming months.
On Wednesday, transport secretary Grant Shapps today declared it financially “not sustainable”. The franchise lost £137m in the financial year to March 2019, it revealed earlier this month.
The network serves London Waterloo, the busiest railway station in the country, and it carries on average 600,000 passenger journeys every day.
Trains run to regions such as Surrey and Hampshire, but even go as far as Exeter. South Western also runs the Island Line service on the Isle of Wight.
Of 850 union members eligible to vote, 505 chose to do so. Of those, 416 voted in favour of strike action.
RMT’s demands centre around the role of the train guard, and whether they have control over operating carriage doors. The union said this is important to help keep passengers safe when boarding and alighting the train.
Main image credit: Network Rail