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Guards on Greater Anglia trains announce strike next month

PUBLISHED: 15:32 24 October 2017

Norwich train station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich train station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

Guards employed by rail company Greater Anglia will strike next month – this time for 48 hours.

Their union, the RMT, has called the second two-day strike over the issue of changes to conductor/guard working patterns when new trains are introduced in two years’ time – specifically who opens and shuts the train doors.

The strikes will be co-ordinated across the Southern and South West franchises – and for 24 hours on the Arriva North and Merseyrail franchises.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said he was prepared to negotiate on the issue – but said the union did not believe the dispute was with the individual rail companies. He said it was now a political dispute with the government.

Mr Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in early November.

“RMT is in no doubt that it is the dead hand of the minority Tory Government that is interfering in these disputes to block negotiated settlements.

“It is outrageous that Prime Minister Theresa May and transport secretary Chris Grayling are happy to stand aside and cheer on overseas rail companies that rip-off the British passenger to subsidise their domestic transport operations while throwing the guards off our trains.”

Richard Dean, from Greater Anglia, said: “We are obviously disappointed with the announcement today. We’re keen to avert industrial action and resolve the issues with further talks with the RMT.

“In the event of industrial action going ahead on 8 and 9 November, we’d like to reassure customers that we have contingency plans in place and intend to run a full service.

“We value our conductors highly and we have guaranteed their jobs until the end of the franchise in October 2025.”

A spokeswoman for GA said managers were confident it would run a safe service on those two days in November and will be meeting the government’s Office of Road and Rail to discuss its contingency plans next week.

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