Rail jobs, staff issues and training

09.05.18

More reduced services for passengers in RMT walkout as guard debate rolls on

RMT members of two major rail operators have walked out today in planned strikes as a result of the polarising debate of a guard’s role on trains.

Members will walk out of Greater Anglia and Northern Rail services for 24 hours. Arriva Rail North has said it will run lines at a reduced rate, operating around two-thirds of the normal weekday service between 7am and 7pm.

Greater Anglia will be running a full service using contingency guards.

The strikes come after the long-debated issue of whether the nation’s rail networks can run on a single driver on trains without the need for a second guard.

RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “Yet again the intransigence of private rail companies operating in England over the key issue of the guard guarantee means that we have no option but to announce further strike action in the separate disputes on Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia.

“We are drawing attention to the ludicrous situation that means we are able to reach agreements in Wales and Scotland on the guard guarantee but not on a raft of key franchises in England.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said that the operator has had “some constructive talks” with the union in recent weeks, offering a proposal which the TOC hoped would resolve the issue.

“Unfortunately, the RMT has rejected it,” he continued.

“Our position remains the same: we highly value our conductors, we’re keeping them on our trains, but we want them to concentrate on customer service rather than opening and closing doors. We will continue to talk to the RMT to try to find an acceptable solution.”

In a message to passengers, Arriva Rail North said it expects the reduced train and bus services to be extremely busy, and asked passengers to allow extra time for journeys.

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Image: Nick Pansell PA Images

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