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Talks underway to prevent First Great Western strike

The RMT union is protesting about changes to guards' duties Credit: ITV

Talks are underway today to avert a strike at First Great Western. The RMT union is unhappy at plans to change guards' duties on trains and do away with buffet cars.

The row centres on the introduction of the new Hitachi bullet-style trains, with a union ballot starting on Friday.

The company say no jobs will be lost and the changes allow for new technology to be introduced. Any action would cause chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers on key routes in Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey.

Drivers will close automatic doors in the future rather than guards who currently close and lock slam doors. The union say guards' safety duties are being downgraded and passengers will suffer from worse catering with no buffet cars.

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