Greater Anglia drivers and conductors have voted to strike over proposed changes to how trains are dispatched.

Rail union RMT today confirmed that members on Greater Anglia have voted overwhelmingly ‎for both strike action and action short of a strike.

The union is unhappy with the potential extension of Driver Only Operation.

Greater Anglia is unveiling new trains which have new technology which allows drivers to dispatch trains, rather than conductors.

RMT claims this has a clear threat to passenger safety.

This is disputed by train operator Greater Anglia which says that 60 per cent of trains currently don't have conductors.

RMT has balloted both drivers and guards members and over 200 Greater Anglia guards, on a 90 per cent turn out, have voted by a massive nine to one for strike action. The drivers' vote was two to one for action on a 75 per cent turn out.

RMT claims it has made repeated efforts to get reassurance about the role and responsibilities of the guards now and for the length of the current Greater Anglia franchise.

The union claims it was left with no option but to serve notice on the company and press ahead with the balloting process for Greater Anglia Guards members. That ballot has now concluded and has returned a vote of strike action and action short of a strike.

The result will now be considered by RMT's executive who will decide on the next steps in the dispute.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Greater Anglia have been given every opportunity to give a guarantee on the future role of the guard on their services. They have failed to do so and that left us with no alternative but to move to a ballot in the interests of rail safety.

"Our members have now voted by massive majorities for action and it's now down to the company to wake up and take note and 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.

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

The date of any action has not been agreed.

Greater Anglia said that it has 222 conductors, and has conductors on 40 per cent of its lines, including:

  • 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

It does not believe that other services will be impacted by a strike.

It also confirmed that no conductors will be losing their jobs.

Richard Dean, train service Delivery Director, Greater Anglia said: “We are obviously disappointed with the ballot result. We’re keen to talk to the RMT to try and resolve the issues involved and to avert industrial action.

"We value our conductors highly and we have guaranteed their jobs until the end of our franchise in October 2025. In fact, we will be recruiting additional conductors, as we are replacing all of our trains with brand new trains from 2019, which will enable us to run more services.”