Greater Anglia services to run as normal during two-day guards strike
PUBLISHED: 15:34 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 07 November 2017
Rail company Greater Anglia has been given approval to use temporary conductor/guards during the two-day strike by RMT members on Wednesday and Thursday.
The government’s watchdog, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) approved its plans to use temporary guards, recruited from back-office and managerial staff, during the 48-hour walkout which starts early on Wednesday morning.
However there was some frustration that the news did not come out until 15 hours before the strike is due to start – meaning many commuters will have travelled to work on Tuesday not knowing if they would be able to make the journey for the next two days.
Richard Dean, Greater Anglia Train Service Delivery Director, said: “We have completed the review with the ORR and as a result we will be running a full train service on Wednesday and Thursday.”
The government is backing the company in the dispute.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The RMT is playing a political game, however it has backfired as Greater Anglia will be running a full service for passengers during the strike.
“This dispute is not about jobs – Greater Anglia is not planning to remove the second staff member from any services which have one at present – the guards have had their jobs guaranteed for eight years.
“It’s also not about safety, as the independent rail regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for thirty years, are safe.
“Greater Anglia is in the process of modernising its service and will deliver more than 1,000 new carriages by 2020 – increasing capacity and improve passenger comfort.”
The decision was attacked by RMT General Secretary Mick Cash who pointed out that the ORR is part-funded by rail companies.
He said: “This week passengers will be placed at greater risk because rail bosses have trained an army of managers and inexperienced backroom staff to replace highly trained and experienced guards in a bid to break the strike action.
“It is obvious to anyone that this will mean passengers will more at risk yet the rail safety regulator is not intervening to protect passengers.”