Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 3°C


More rail action planned – but what is the dispute on Greater Anglia about?

PUBLISHED: 13:34 28 September 2017

Trains on rural services have doors that are currently operated by  the guard. Stock Image.

Trains on rural services have doors that are currently operated by the guard. Stock Image.


Conductor/guards on Greater Anglia are to introduce an overtime ban for a month from October 10 as they step up their dispute over changing their role. But what is the dispute all about?

How is the guards’ role changing? Train guards have always had an important function in ensuring the safety of trains. Greater Anglia says they will retain this function.

However until now the doors on some trains have been opened and closed by the guard through a panel on the side of carriage. The new trains being introduced from 2019 will have that button operated from the driver’s cab and the doors will be covered by safety devices. The guards will not have to open and shut the doors which should, the company says, free them up to deal with passengers.

Will jobs be lost? Greater Anglia says no conductor/guards jobs will be lost. They say they are guaranteeing their jobs until the end of the franchise in October 2025 – and are currently recruiting new conductor guards.

The union does not accept the guarantee and says its member’s jobs will be downgraded by losing safety responsibilities.

Would the changes make rail journeys less safe? The company says the new operation would be just as safe as it is at present – and all the government’s rail safety authorities say there is not worried about the drivers having responsibility for closing the doors.

The RMT, which represents conductor/guards but only a minority of train drivers, says transferring the responsibility from guards to the drivers would be less safe.

Are all trains affected? No. 60% of Greater Anglia trains – most of the suburban trains – are driver-only operated now already. It is the Intercity and rural services that are affected by this dispute.

Will trains continue to run during the industrial action? Greater Anglia says trains will run as normal because it has trained other staff to step into the roles of conductor/guards. The RMT has described these replacements as a “Scab Army.”

How long will the strikes last? Both sides say they are keen to talk – but the RMT has co-ordinated its action next week with strikes on other companies and it is taking place during the Conservative Party conference. That has led some to suggest that it is keen those strikes should go ahead to make a point.

A spate of burglaries in Ipswich has left Suffolk police urging residents to be vigilant and secure with their homes and property as the evenings draw in.

Gritters are out on Suffolk’s vital roads tonight and tomorrow morning ahead of dropping temperatures and a risk of icy conditions.

A police officer intervened in a row between members of two rival groups in Ipswich town centre a few hours before 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was stabbed to death, it has been alleged.

Liz Nice went to Gorleston Pavilion Theatre to see Sleeping Beauty and discovered the answer

Eastern Angles is celebrating 30 years of their irreverent Christmas show with the gloriously surreal tale of The Fenland Screamers. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke gets enjoyably lost in this ripping yarn set in the roaring twenties

A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual assault following reports of an attack on a woman in an Ipswich street.

Yates in Ipswich was packed at the weekend with many dancing, drinking and having a laugh. Do you recognise anyone in the pictures?

Jewellery and cash were snatched from a home as burglars smashed their way into a property.

Police are appealing for information in the hunt for a missing teenager from Colchester.

Students at a school in Ipswich have been raising awareness of the problems of plastic this festive season but creating a huge Christmas tree with a difference.

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24