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  1. ITV Report

Summer rail strikes could spread to Greater Anglia as RMT ballots drivers and guards

The RMT union is balloting drivers and guards who work for Greater Anglia as part of an escalating row over the operation of doors on trains by guards.

Strikes would mean chaos for hundreds of thousands of commuters. But Greater Anglia said tonight they have no plans to remove guards from trains and instead are recruiting more. Natalie Gray has the story:

Rolling strikes have brought the south-east of England to its knees over Southern Rail's plans to remove guards from services and extend driver-only operated trains. And now Greater Anglia staff are to be balloted on the same issue.

"The Dutch run, Abellio, won't guarantee a second qualified person on every train for some reason and there are guards there at the moment and they want to get rid of them."

– Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT Union.

200,000 people use Greater Anglia trains every day - many commuting to the capital.

Any strike would mean misery.

"I think it's a very bad move because it really will affect a lot of commuters who've already suffered an awful lot because of train failures, infrastructure failures and they are really fed up already . So any further burden on them will, I think, be totally unfair."

– Derek Monnery, Essex Rail Users Federation.

But the rail company insists guards will stay.

"We have conductors on our Intercity service between Norwich and London Liverpool Street and on our rural routes across East Anglia. They are highly valued colleagues and we have no plans to remove them from our trains. In fact, we have a new conductors training course starting in August."

– Richard Dean, Greater Anglia.