New strikes over guard role as dispute spreads

 

The RMT union has announced two further one-day strikes next month on Merseyrail, Northern and Southern, as well as on Greater Anglia, as yet another new front opened in the dispute over driver only operation (DOO) and the role of guards.

Union members employed by all four companies will strike between 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Tuesday 3 October and Thursday 5 October.

”Local
A Greater Anglia train at Darsham

Drivers' union ASLEF has also called a 24 hour strike on the London Underground on 5 October.

The RMT has previously held strikes over the role of guards on Southern, Merseyrail and Northern services with the seemingly intractable dispute at Southern the longest running.

It said guards and drivers on Greater Anglia will now strike over the potential extension of DOO, ‘following the company's continuing refusal to give a guarantee on the role of the guard throughout the length of the franchise’.

It said Greater Anglia guards voted by nine to one for strike action, on a ‘whopping’ 90% turnout. Drivers voted two to one for action on a 75% turnout.

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.’

Richard Dean, train service delivery director at Greater Anglia, said: ‘We’re keen to talk to the RMT to try and resolve the issues involved and to avert industrial action.

‘We value our conductors highly and we have guaranteed their jobs until the end of the 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.’

Mr Dean said that if the strikes go ahead the company has contingency plans in place and intends to run a full service.

 

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