RAIL chiefs in Hampshire have hit out at union bosses over their decision to strike next month.

Bosses at South Western Railway (SWR) have accused the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union of “deliberately targeting of services up to, and during, the Christmas period”.

It comes after the union announced plans for 27 days of strikes throughout December.

The strikes are in relation to a long-running dispute between the rail franchise and workers over the future of train guards on its services.

A SWR spokesperson said: “We are extremely disappointed that the RMT union has once again called for their members to take disruptive industrial action.

“The deliberate targeting of services up to, and during, the Christmas period is typical of the lack of concern the RMT continue to have for our customers.

“The RMT has always said it wanted us to keep the guard on every train. That is what we have offered as part of a framework agreement if the RMT work with us to agree a method of operation for our new trains which utilises the new technology to improve safety, security and accessibility as well as day-to-day performance.

“Instead the RMT appear purely focussed on keeping control of train doors.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash “As long as the company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard, we will remain in dispute.”

RMT members will not book on for duty from Monday, December 2 until Wednesday December 11, from Friday December 13 until 23:59 on Tuesday December 24, and from 00:01 on Friday December 27 until 23:59 on January 1.