Greater Anglia trains running from Norwich to London over two-day strike
PUBLISHED: 07:12 08 November 2017
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Greater Anglia is running all its trains over the next two days, despite strike action.
The rail company was given approval to use temporary conductor/guards during the two-day strike by RMT members which started this morning.
A statement on the Greater Anglia website said: “Greater Anglia will be running a full service during RMT strikes on Wednesday, November 8 and Thursday, November 9.
“60pc of Greater Anglia trains do not have conductors. These are mainly commuter trains into London Liverpool Street from Essex, Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Ipswich.
“Contingency staff have been trained to the same standard as other conductors in order to operate the rest of the service.
“Greater Anglia remains open to talks with the RMT in order to avert further industrial action.”
The government’s watchdog, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) approved plans for Greater Anglia to use temporary guards, recruited from back-office and managerial staff, during the 48-hour walkout.
However there was some frustration that the news did not come out until 15 hours before the strike was due to start.
Richard Dean, Greater Anglia Train Service Delivery Director, said: “We have completed the review with the ORR and as a result we will be running a full train service on Wednesday and Thursday.”
The government is backing the company in the dispute.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The RMT is playing a political game, however it has backfired as Greater Anglia will be running a full service for passengers during the strike.
“This dispute is not about jobs – Greater Anglia is not planning to remove the second staff member from any services which have one at present – the guards have had their jobs guaranteed for eight years.
“It’s also not about safety, as the independent rail regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for thirty years, are safe.
“Greater Anglia is in the process of modernising its service and will deliver more than 1,000 new carriages by 2020 – increasing capacity and improve passenger comfort.”
The decision was attacked by RMT General Secretary Mick Cash who pointed out that the ORR is part-funded by rail companies.
He said: “This week passengers will be placed at greater risk because rail bosses have trained an army of managers and inexperienced backroom staff to replace highly trained and experienced guards in a bid to break the strike action.
“It is obvious to anyone that this will mean passengers will more at risk yet the rail safety regulator is not intervening to protect passengers.”