31 May 2017
RMT Press Office
RMT steps up fight over ticket office closures across Greater Anglia Franchise
Rail union RMT confirmed today that it is to step up a campaign to fight a planned programme of ticket offices closures the length and breadth of the Greater Anglia franchise and has given the company a deadline of Monday 19th June to confirm that all ticket office jobs and windows will be kept open for the length of the current franchise or the union will declare a formal dispute over the issue.
RMT is also seeking further confirmations from Greater Anglia over the retention of the current two-person train despatch procedures and the safety competencies of platform staff.
Earlier this month, the company informed the union that across the Greater Anglia network they currently have 64 ticket offices with an establishment of 358 ticket office staff. The company, which currently holds the franchise until 2026, told RMT officials that it is their intention to only have 7 remaining traditional ticket offices. These will be located at London Liverpool Street, Colchester, Norwich, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Stansted Airport.
The union has raised serious concerns with the company and has asked them to provide a detailed and serious response but we have met with a brick wall. RMT’s National Executive Committee has noted that the company have totally failed to issue any documents setting out their plans for ticket offices for the rest of the franchise. Additionally, Passenger Focus has objected to Greater Anglia’s first tranche of ticket offices closures.
That means that the company are proposing to close the bulk of the remainder of their station-based services during the next year in three stages, with seven ticket offices to close by this summer without providing any kind of detail whatsoever. Greater Anglia have also revealed that they intend to introduce revenue staff and place ticket vending machines (TVMs) at all stations with major implications for jobs and services.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The union is appalled at this planned attack on ticket offices and station staff across the Greater Anglia franchise which would wipe out the vast bulk of these vital passenger services over the next year. The union will fight with every tool at our disposal to halt these disastrous plans which are all about cutting public services to pump up private profits.
We have given the company a clear deadline to give us assurances on both ticket office and train despatch issues of the 19th June and the ball is now in their court. If we don’t get a positive response by that date we will have no option but to declare a formal dispute.
“The Greater Anglia plans all part and parcel of a national drive to de-staff our trains and stations as the private train companies look to smuggle in a faceless railway in a dash to fatten up their own profit margins. RMT is calling on the public and politicians to join with us in a mass campaign to halt this ticket office wipe-out that would stretch the length and breadth of the Greater Anglia franchise.”