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Friday 29th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

RMT declare more strikes as bosses refuse to guarantee jobs

Train guards in eastern England are being forced to step up their industrial action after bosses’ repeated failure to make guarantees over jobs and passenger safety, transport union RMT announced yesterday.

Greater Anglia workers will refuse rest-day working or overtime from October 10 to November 6 in addition to striking on October 3 and 5.

The Dutch and Japanese-owned franchise is the latest to spark strikes by trying to remove safety-critical guards from its trains.

Southern, Arriva North and Merseyrail have already unleashed misery on passengers with their profit-mad push for driver-only operation.

The policy flies in the face of the key role played by guards following incidents including derailments, collisions, and on board incidences of unruly and abusive behaviour.

Greater Anglia bosses are planning on drafting in scabs from other parts of the company.

“We have spent several months training back-office staff so that they can fill in for conductors,” said Greater Anglia train service delivery director Richard Dean.

“Our back office staff have gone through a rigorous training process, and have to pass competence, medical and safety tests before they can stand in for conductors.

“We will also have extra managers at stations to help customers with any enquiries.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is the wholesale failure of Greater Anglia to address our members’ concerns over safety that has left us with no option but to escalate our programme of industrial action.

“Greater Anglia have been given every opportunity to give a guarantee on the future role of the guard on their services.

“This dispute is about guaranteeing the safety of the travelling public.

“Our members voted by massive majorities for both strike action and action short of a strike but the company have ignored that and have failed to seize the opportunity to give us the very simple assurances on the future of the guards, and the guarantee of a second safety-critical member of staff on current services.”