Union announces strike ballot in rail dispute

Greater Anglia Trains logo
Greater Anglia Trains logo

Drivers and guards on some West Norfolk train services are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over working practices.

RMT union bosses announced yesterday that they would invite members who work on Greater Anglia services to vote on whether to take strike action or action short of a strike.

The dispute relates to proposals to introduce systems where train drivers would open train doors, rather than guards.

The union says it is prepared to consider proposals, but claims the company has not provided the assurances it sought about the future role of guards or conductors on trains.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “We will not sit back and wait for the company any longer and we have no option but to begin preparations for a ballot in order to protect safety and access on Greater Anglia services.

But Greater Anglia says it will be launching a new training course for conductors next month.

Richard Dean, the company’s train service delivery director, said: “We have conductors on our Intercity service and on our rural routes across East Anglia. They are highly valued colleagues and we have no plans to remove them from our trains.”

Both sides say they are prepared to hold further talks to resolve the dispute.

If the dispute is not resolved, any disruption to services in West Norfolk would only affect a small number of services that Greater Anglia run between Lynn and London Liverpool Street. Most of the borough’s services are run by Great Northern.