COMMUTERS travelling to London face disruption after train workers voted in favour of industrial action yesterday.

RMT union members of South Western Railway backed walkouts 4-1, with 76 per cent of members making the ballot box.

South Western Railway, which took over from South West Train in August covering routes such as Bracknell to London Waterloo, are the fifth UK operator to become embroiled in the dispute over the role of guards and driver only trains.

The rail operator has not given "cast iron assurances" over the future of train guards, RMT claimed.

Union general secretary Mick Cash said: “This dispute can be easily resolved if the company are prepared to stick to existing agreements, give staff and passengers alike a guarantee of a second, safety-critical member of staff on all current services and an assurance that safety and access are the absolute priority."

A South Western Railway spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that some of our staff have chosen to vote for industrial action. None of us want to be in this position and any potential action will cause unnecessary disruption for the customers we serve.

“We have been clear that we plan to retain a second person on our services, as we know that our passengers value the assurance and assistance a second member of on-board staff provides. That’s why, during our franchise, we will increase the numbers of drivers and guards so we can deliver more services for passengers."

The spokesperson went on to say that improvements were planned across the franchise, including more trains, quicker journeys and earlier and later services, and that yesterday's strike vote threatened to undermine those efforts.