CALLS are being made for passengers to be compensated for planned rail strikes next month.

A near month-long strike by rail workers is set to go ahead after talks failed to resolve a long-running dispute over guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway are due to strike for 27 days from December 2.

The action is expected to cause huge disruption for commuters and Christmas shoppers.

Jeremy Varns, campaigns coordinator at SWR Watch, said: “The current arrangements for compensation via the Delay Repay scheme are wholly insufficient and do not reflect the inconvenience and loss of services that passengers will encounter during this month-long strike.

“We are repeating our call on the government to take a moment from the election campaign to tell passengers what measures will be in place to compensate them for the significant disruption that is expected next month.

“Passengers must not be treated as an afterthought by the train company, government or the RMT union.”

SWR runs services to and from London Waterloo, the country’s busiest station, and via Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth and Southampton and surrounding stations.

Earlier this week RMT general secretary Mick Cash (inset) said: “Throughout these talks SWR have not shown any intention of moving the issues at the heart of the dispute forwards, despite verbal assurances in earlier discussions.

“It has become increasingly clear that they are not interested in reaching a settlement at this time. As a result of the company attitude all planned action remains on.”

An SWR spokesman said: “We’re very disappointed. Despite promising to keep guards on all our trains and promising that they will have a safety-critical role, the talks broke down today. We remain committed to finding a solution that works for our customers and we remain open to talks if the RMT decides to reconsider its position.”