The RMT ramps up its row with Greater Anglia as it sets overtime ban on top of October strikes

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The RMT has been rowing with several train firms over the role of the guard (Source: Greater Anglia)

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union announced it is escalating its row with Greater Anglia in a dispute over the role of the guard, setting an overtime ban on top of strike action.

From Tuesday 10 October until Monday 6 November, conductor members have been instructed not to take on any overtime or rest day working. The union has already said that 24-hour strikes will take place on Tuesday 3 October and Thursday 5 October, as well as on Southern rail, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North.

The latter date coincides with a planned walkout on the London Underground by members of train drivers' union Aslef in a separate dispute over working conditions. 

Read more: Here's what you need to know about the upcoming Tube strike

The union says it has not received guarantees about the future of the role of the guard by the train operator, so is escalating the row.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

This dispute is about guaranteeing the safety of the travelling public pure and simple. 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. That failure leaves us no option but to move to strike action.

The union remains available for further talks around the crucial issue of the guard guarantee.

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.

Read more: Brace yourselves: Now rail walkouts are set for the same day as Tube strike