‘Good service’ on region’s railways as union members strike
- Credit: Jacob Massey
A 'good service' is reported to be running on the region's railways this morning - despite workers taking part in the first of two 24-hour strikes.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will strike today, October 3, and on October 5 over the role of guards and driver-only trains.
But Greater Anglia said it would run a full service, as 60pc of their trains do not have conductors.
And extra staff had been trained to stand in on trains which do.
This morning (Tuesday), two services were cancelled due to train faults. A small number of trains were formed of fewer carriages than usual, and there had been some delays.
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Otherwise, the operator reported it was running and 'good service'.
Guards and conductors picketed outside Norwich railway station throughout today and are due to strike again tomorrow.
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Members of NOR4NOR (Norfolk for Nationalisation of Rail) joined the protest, arguing the spread of driver-only operated trains jeopardises passenger safety.
Dave Welsh, convener of NOR4NOR, said: 'There are several risks with driver-only operated trains. One of them is the danger to passengers with anti-social behaviour. Secondly, if you are a disabled person and you need help, there needs to be a second safety-critical person on the train.
'The driver drives the train - the driver doesn't look after the passengers. The guard protects the train, and without that person in an emergency, there is a grave security risk.
'The RMT have asked Greater Anglia for a commitment not to introduce further driver-only operated trains in the region. For some reason, they seem reluctant to give that assurance, which shouldn't be difficult for them to do. The RMT are suspicious that Greater Anglia does have plans to introduce driver-only operated trains, just as we've seen in other regions with the likes of Southern Rail.
'This is the most serious, widespread industrial dispute since the railways were sold off in 1992.'
Greater Anglia intends to operate 100pc of services tomorrow, despite the strike action.
The RMT announced it would ballot guards and drivers over strike action as part of a row over the operation of doors on trains by guards.
And it was reported around 200 members backed industrial action by 9-1, with a 90pc turnout.
The union claimed it had failed to get assurances from Greater Anglia that guards would be retained in full, including maintaining responsibility for closing train doors at stations,—for the duration of its nine-year contract.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: 'Greater Anglia have been given every opportunity to give a guarantee on the future role of the guard on their services.
'They have failed to do so and that left us with no alternative but to move to a ballot in the interests of rail safety.
'Our members voted by massive majorities for action.
'The union remains available for further talks around the crucial issue of the guard guarantee.'
It comes as further rail action is planned from October 10, where conductors and guards will introduce an overtime ban for a month.• To check your journey, click here.