NEW train fleets for East Coast and First Great Western intercity networks could signal the axe for guards and buffet cars.
Transport union RMT has warned that the rail franchises are heading for a “full-blown dispute” if bosses turn services into “driver-only” operations.
The union says the new fleets, which are being built in Japan and assembled by Hitachi in north-east England, have the facility for operating without guards and that buffet cars could be stripped out to seat more passengers. In-house maintenance work could also be lost to contractors.
It has asked for guarantees on its members' jobs.
RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said the union was “demanding answers and assurances from both the government and the train companies.”
He added: “If those assurances aren’t forthcoming we will move into dispute and begin preparations for ballots. We have no intention of allowing this situation to drift.”