PLANNED strikes on South Western Railway over guards on trains have been called off, it has been revealed.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) announced they will no longer be walking out for two days next week.

The strikes were due to begin at 10am on Monday, March 9, and last until 9.59am on Tuesday, March 10.

The second day of industrial action was scheduled to start at 10am on Thursday, March 12 and finish at 9.59am on Friday, March 13, where an hourly service was planned from Romsey to Salisbury via Southampton.

Now RMT has said they have suspended the walk out in "good faith" to allow for talks to happen on Friday, March 6.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, who represents Blackwater on the borough council, said: "I am really pleased they have called off the strikes, as there has been lots of disruption for travellers with the landslide and the bad weather recently.

"I just hope RMT and management show some common sense and commit to finding a solution to this."

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "It is good and we still need guards on trains to help women, children and gentlemen, because you never know what can happen.

"It is not just about opening and closing doors, which is a very valuable part of it, because there are so many other things they do.

"They ensure people are on the train safely, because you can have a passenger who is disabled and they need someone to come out with a ramp for them."

She added: "The longer is goes on the more disgruntled the passengers will become."

Cllr Celia Dowden, who represents North Baddesley on the borough council, said: "I welcome the fact that talks will resume because all of the commuters from this area have suffered.

"This has to be resolved this time and we hope that both sides will be aware it is the commuters who a bearing the brunt of the fact that these two groups are not able to reach an agreement."

A statement on RMT's website reads: "RMT said that it has suspended strike action on South Western Railway in good faith to allow further talks to take place this Friday 6th March.

"The action that has been suspended was due to take place between:

• 10.00 hours on Monday 9th March 2020 until 09.59 hours on Tuesday 10th March 2020

• 10.00 hours on Thursday 12th March 2020 until 09.59 hours on Friday 13th March 2020

"South Western Railway Guard, Commercial Guard and Train Driver members are now instructed to work as usual on the above dates."

A spokesperson for South Western Railway said: “We are pleased for our customers and colleagues that next week’s strikes have been suspended, we hope that we can now find a solution to bring a permanent end to this dispute for everyone’s sake.

“We are now working hard to reinstate the full timetable for next week.”