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Strikes on horizon for Greater Anglia after overwhelming RMT agreement

Greater Anglia could soon be the latest TOC to be hit by strike action as RMT members this week voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action against the operator.

The union balloted its driver and guard members and 90% voted for strike action from a 75% turnout.

The result will now be considered by the RMT’s executive, who are likely to call strikes in line with the opinion of its membership.

If strikes do go ahead, Greater Anglia will be the fourth TOC alongside Merseyrail, Northern and Southern to be dealing with industrial action over the move to driver-only operated (DOO) trains.

Last week, the RMT also warned that strike action was “looming” on a fourth operator, East Midlands Trains – although this was with regards to a pay dispute rather than issues with DOO.

“Greater Anglia have been given every opportunity to give a guarantee on the future role of the guard on their services,” said union general secretary Mick Cash. “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 have now voted by massive majorities for action and it’s now down to the company to wake up and take note and to seize the opportunity to give us the very simple assurances on the future of the guards, and the guarantee of a second safety critical member of staff on current services.

“The union remains available for further talks around the crucial issue of the guard guarantee.”

Richard Dean, train service delivery director at Greater Anglia told RTM that obviously, the company were disappointed with the ballot result. 

“We’re keen to talk to the RMT to try and resolve the issues involved and to avert industrial action," he added.  

"We value our conductors highly and we have guaranteed their jobs until the end of our franchise in October 2025. In fact, we will be recruiting additional conductors, as we are replacing all of our trains with brand new trains from 2019, which will enable us to run more services.”

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Neil Palmer   13/09/2017 at 15:01

The public is getting sick & tired of Mick Cash and politically motivated trouble making at the RMT. Isn't it time for the government to get of its backside and pass legislation outlawing strikes based on what "might" happen in the future? Until the RMT is actually told by a TOC that conductor's jobs are going away they should be forbidden to strike based on speculation of what might happen.

Andrew Gwilt   14/09/2017 at 03:45

At least the strikes won't be as bad than the strikes on Southern. Hopefully it should last for 24hrs.

Paul Coenraats   15/09/2017 at 16:58

Having working in the Industry (in the days of the Western Region) and being involved in an incident where the Drivers was to upset to leave the cab it was left to me (CS&TE) and the Guard to Protect the Train inform the passengers of the situation. I truly believe that trains with only a Driver on are NOT safe. The door closing Issue is not a real problem as they have to shut and ofcourse opened but there has to be a 2nd person on the train for all the obvious reasons that any sensible person can reason for themselves. The Unions have move with the times but also they do have to make sure the right thing is invoked for everybodies safety. The Incident at Parson Green today is a case in point. I rest my case.

Jerry Alderson   15/09/2017 at 18:36

RE: "At least the strikes won't be as bad than the strikes on Southern" This article does not make it clear but, as I understand it, the RMT has only FOUR drivers on GA. Two voted in favour, one voted against and one did not respond. Given that the current diesel trains do not allow the train driver to open/close the doors (as far as I know) then if the conductors are on strike (even if ASLEF drivers were prepared to run the service) there will be no diesel trains running. About 60% of GA's services are DCO+0. However, that equates to around 80% of GA's passengers are on DCO+0 trains. The bi-modes do not arrive until 2019 so we (and I live in 'GA land') could be facing almost two years of disruption on GA's diesel services. Obviously I (and the passengers) hope not. Just to get this really clear...GA intends to 'keep' a second person on every train where there is currently one (i.e. where the train is currently operated by a driver and conductor). By 'keep' I mean employ and roster. There is no intention of reducing staff headcount. I've spoken with GA's MD, Jamie Burles, on this matter, and he is adamant that GA has no intentions to cut on-board costs. I do not know whether GA intends for the train to still operate if the second person (essentially the OBS) does not turn up for duty, become ill on duty, is delayed etc. Personally I would always want my train to run, even if staffing is temporarily degraded, through I accept that I do not have the additional needs that some passengers may have.

Steve B Collins   15/09/2017 at 18:39

RMT needs to strike now because once the new trains are in service they cannot stop trains running (if the ASLEF drivers continue to work). RMT's power disappears in 2019.

Essex Commuter   15/09/2017 at 23:53

I think the strikes could go on for at least 3 days. Unless the strikes are only going to happen for 24 hours or 48 hours. If planned to be a 24 hour strike then it will only affect Mainline services and not all services.

Jerry Alderson   29/10/2017 at 14:23

I was unduly pessimistic in assuming that no diesel trains would run during the RMT strike. Apparently only a handful of trains were cancelled because of a lack of traincrew as managers had been trained up to perform the functions of the conductor and did so. Whether the managers just did the doors or also sold tickets (which obviously requires further training) I do not know. I'd rather have free travel than no travel.

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