WORKERS on South Western Railway will strike for 27 days in December amid the long-running dispute over the role of guards on trains, rail union RMT has announced.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out for 27 days between December 2 and New Year's Day, threatening travel chaos for commuters and Christmas shoppers.

Strikes will not take place on the day of the general election - December 12.

RMT said action is being taken after SWR had reportedly "dangled a potential breakthrough deal in front of the union and then failed to honour it."

The union is instructing guards and driver members not to book on for duty from December 2 to December 11, from December 13 to December 24 and from December 27 to January 1 2020.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our members have been left with no choice but to call a further 27 days of strike action on South Western Railway.

“At the last meeting we held with SWR principles in agreements were made in good faith with the company’s negotiating team and we now feel hugely let down again. As long as the company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard we will remain in dispute.

“I want to congratulate our members on their continued resolve in their fight for safety and the role of the guard on SWR. It is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been agreed.

“The union remains available for talks.”