Posted 4th August 2015 | 3 Comments

RMT calls Bank Holiday strike on Great Western

FIRST Great Western services are likely to be disrupted over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August, as the dispute over the introduction of Intercity Express trains between London, Bristol and South Wales continues.

An walkout has been called for Sunday 23 August, to be followed by a strike on the following Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

FGW is planning to transfer the control of train doors from train managers to drivers, arguing that CCTV in the driver's cab gives the best possible view of the train. However, when similar trains are introduced on Virgin Trains East Coast the train manager will remain in charge.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Despite strenuous efforts by our negotiators we have not been able to secure the kind of progress required in the key areas of jobs, services and safety for us to reach an agreement. The fact remains that if it is good enough for East Coast, using the same trains, to meet the very basic assurances sought by this trade union then it is good enough for First Great Western as well.
“We congratulate our members for their rock solid support for the strike action last month and we know that they remain united and determined as we continue with our campaign on these crucial issues. RMT remains available for talks.”

Reader Comments:

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  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    Seems to be FGW has ALREADY guaranteed no jobs will be lost due to this, in fact they have stated MORE will be created. They have even committed to staff in both halves of an IEP running in multiple. It's simply more efficient, and helps keep to time, if the driver controls the doors. The guard (whatever name you want to use for that position) can be busy with something else at the second a train pulls into a station, and the delay in opening the doors can contribute, down the line, to delays - especially if the train then loses its path.

    SO, hidden agenda, more money?
    Of course. Mick's last name gives it away.

  • brainforge, Hertfordshire

    Interesting choice of words 'East Coast train manager will remain in charge'.
    He may be 'in charge' but the driver could operate the doors under his direction / supervision?**

    The other issue is one man operation - risk / benefits?

    Should there be an agreement along the lines that services will not be cancelled due to 'staff shortage' when only a driver is available (service disruption / unplanned absenteeism) but that schedules / staffing levels will be planned such that that is not a normal occurrence?

    But then with poor staff relations agreement on something like that might be difficult achieve...

    [** Maybe, but this is speculative. I have seen no such suggestion (yet) in connection with Intercity East Coast.--Editor.]

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    As I understand it these trains will not enter service for over 3 years. Plenty of time for negotiations. So exactly what is the 'hidden agenda' ? More money ?