A HAMPSHIRE MP has slammed rail workers who are set to walk out for 48 hours next month.

Steve Brine, Conservative MP for Winchester said that the strikes by staff on South Western Railway (SWR) had nothing to do with safety and members of the public will be the ones who pay the price.

As previously reported, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at SWR – which took over the old South West Trains franchise in August – will join Southern and Greater Anglia in the industrial action starting on November 8.

Mr Brine said: “My constituents will despair at this news, as do I.

"This strike has nothing to do with safety on our trains or jobs, it’s about politics and the RMT wanting to undermine a democratically elected government.

“They will fail and the only losers in this will be the travelling public who pay too much to be drawn into this self-indulgent nonsense.

“I urge the sensible, moderate people working for SWR to do what they know is right and demand their union get back round the table and sort this out.”

The union has been embroiled in a dispute over the role of guards on trains with Southern for over 18 months, taking more than 30 days of strike action, so far.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces.

“We are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in early November.

“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.”