Rail bosses have accused a union of being ‘determined to cancel Christmas’ after a series of seasonal strikes were announced.
The RMT union will strike between December 22 and 24, with drivers also not booking shifts between December 31 and January 2.
The union said the action was being taken because of rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) ‘continued refusal to give a guarantee that a second, safety-critical member of staff will be retained on all services which currently have a guard on board’.
But in response, a GTR spokesman said: “Not content with causing months of misery, the RMT has now hit a new low and is determined to cancel Christmas for the travelling public.
“These latest strikes will not just hit families wanting to get home for Christmas but also the shops and businesses for whom Christmas is their busiest time.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said GTR was forcing the union to take further action.
He added: “This week we have seen repeated chaos on Southern Rail services that has shown once again that they are simply incapable of running safe and reliable services.
“The only obstacle to their removal from their management contract is the Government who are calling the shots and pulling the strings behind the scenes while publicly claiming the dispute is between RMT and GTR.”