Statement re RMT's intention to escalate action
Richard Dean, Greater Anglia Train Service Delivery Director said: “We are planning a full service throughout the period of the overtime ban announced by the RMT. We owe it to our customers and the wider region to do everything we can to safely provide the service we promise, so that is why we are planning to safely operate a full normal service during any RMT industrial action.
"We are guaranteeing the future of conductors on our trains right through to the end of the franchise in October 2025. We have no plans to remove them, in fact when we get our new trains we will be recruiting more conductors. We are keen to talk to the RMT to try and agree a way forward.”
We have been training back office staff for several months to carry out the conductor role so that we can provide our customers with a full service in the event of any strikes, including those called for 3 and 5 October, or other industrial action such as an overtime or rest day working ban. All of these staff have to pass rigorous competence, safety and medical tests before they are able to carry out the conductor role. We will never compromise our customers' safety.
60 per cent of our services do not have conductors and have not had them for many years. They include commuter trains into London Liverpool Street from Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Ipswich, and also the Stansted Express.
Conductors are provided on these services: Norwich to London intercity service; Norwich to Sheringham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft; Ipswich to Felixstowe and Lowestoft; Norwich and Ipswich to Cambridge; Sudbury to Marks Tey; Clacton to Colchester; Harwich to Colchester. We also have conductors on a small number of peak time services on two otherwise driver-only operated routes, the Witham to Braintree and Wickford to Southminster lines.
The new trains will be equipped with the latest technology and drivers will be able to safely open and close doors on every train. Conductors will then be able to concentrate on their customer service role, which is so popular with customers. They will be able to help customers, without having to break off to return to the door control panel in order to open or close doors. They will also continue to receive safety training so that they can deal with any emergencies.
Our proposed approach should also improve the punctuality of the service, as there will not be a delay between trains arriving at stations and doors opening and closing.
Two independent rail organisations, the Railway and Safety Standards Board and the Office of Rail and Road have carried out reports that conclude that it is safe for drivers to open and close doors. The event that the RMT highlights would be avoided completely with our proposal to move to a system where the driver opens and closes the doors at every station.