Greater Anglia says RMT strike cracking as some guards ignore strike call

Members of the RMT stage a picket line opposite Ipswich station. Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE

Members of the RMT stage a picket line opposite Ipswich station. Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE - Credit: Archant

Rail services on the Greater Anglia network were running as normal on Monday – the first of three days of strike action by conductor/guards who are members of the RMT union.

Managers and back-office staff who have been trained to operate as stand-in conductor/guards were filling in for their striking colleagues on the 40% of Greater Anglia trains that use guards.

But bosses at the rail company said they had seen some RMT conductor/guards report for work today for the first time since the series of one-day strikes over their role in new trains started in October.

However union general secretary Mick Cash insisted that the strike was solid on all rail companies that were seeing industrial action – Greater Anglia is one of five that is seeing industrial action this week.

Richard Dean from Greater Anglia said: “We are running a full service today with no disruption caused by the strike. The staff who are standing in for the conductors are getting more experienced and more confident in the role – there are no problems there.

Richard Dean of Greater Anglia. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Richard Dean of Greater Anglia. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant


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“But we have seen a few RMT members reporting for duty. I suppose if you were rostered to work on December 27 and these three days then you could stand to lose a considerable amount of money – nearly a quarter of your pay.”

The RMT said the strike was solid in all companies affected – guards are also striking on Southern, Arriva Rail North, Merseyrail, and South Western Railway over the same issue.

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Union General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members remain solid and united in each of the separate disputes across the country over rail safety this morning as we continue to fight to put public safety, security and access before the profits of the train operating companies.”

In a ballot on strike action in September, 200 Greater Anglia conductor/guards voted 9-1 in favour of strike action.

The row is about the role of the conductor/guards with regard to train safety, especially about who should close the doors of the new trains due to be introduced from 2019.

Greater Anglia says it has guaranteed the jobs until the end of its franchise in 2025. One of the most stark differences between the two sides is that the company describes its staff as conductors while the union calls them guards.

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