A SOUTHAMPTON MP has said "strikes will help no one" as thousands of railway staff are set to go on strike demanding better pay.

After last-ditch discussions failed to resolve a disagreement over wages, jobs, and conditions, the RMT union said strikes will take place from today.

The three-day walkout will affect millions of people and cause disruption for businesses and organisations up and down the country.

Ahead of mass strike action, motorists are also warned to expect a surge in traffic as train passengers switch to cars.

Commenting on the strike, the MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, said he fears an economic downturn. 

Mr Smith said: "The taxpayer-supported many industries and public sector workers throughout the pandemic. 

"This strike action will further damage our fragile economy just when we are starting to get back on our feet. 

"The railways need to agree to modernise. Only then will the employer know how much they can afford in pay increases."

Starting tomorrow, Southern Western Railway will run a severely reduced timetable on strike days (today, Thursday and Saturday), with significant parts of the network closed.

A severely limited service will run between 7.15am and 6.30pm and will consist of two fast trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Southampton. 

Significant disruption is also expected on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. 

Ross McNally, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: "Many of our members are only just building back from the impact of Covid and are seeing fresh financial pressures kicking in due to 40-year-high inflation. 

"We are in the midst of an extremely challenging situation because of the rising cost of doing business. 

"The only longer-term solution is to ensure wage settlements are tied to productivity and do not add to the inflationary spiral. If they do, this erodes the value of wage growth for individuals and makes businesses across the UK uncompetitive. 

"We call on all sides in this dispute to approach the situation in good faith and agree to a fair deal that recognises the wider impact on the economy." 

For the latest guidance, visit: www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/industrial-action