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Posted on 21 June 2015 at 11:30 GMT

First company train guard strikers, TransPennine Express route, with the Yorkshire NSSN banner, 21.6.15, photo by A Tice

First company train guard strikers, TransPennine Express route, with the Yorkshire NSSN banner, 21.6.15, photo by A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Sunday strikes continue for reinstatement of sacked Cleethorpes train guard

Alistair Tice

You've got ten years of service with the same company, an unblemished record, potentially save someone's life, and you get spat at. You should get an award or at least a commendation.

Not if you are a conductor for First company operating the TransPennine Express route. No, you get sacked!

That's what's happened to a FTPE guard in Cleethorpes, and that's why RMT transport union colleagues in Clee and Sheffield are taking strike action every Sunday in June.

The guard made a split-second decision not to hit the emergency-stop button for a second time after a youth jumped up to "surf" the train again. Despite potentially saving the youth from being thrown off the train and being injured or worse, and honestly self-reporting the incident, First sacked the conductor for not following the rules!

If the guard had worked under Network Rail's Life-Saving Rules, the incident would have been treated as a training issue, not as a disciplinary. First have even refused to re-train or downgrade the employee.

Refusal to back down

Now, even the youth who climbed onto the train, and his mother, have come forward and publicly apologised to and vindicated the conductor. But instead of FPTE recognising its mistake it is now threatening legal action against the RMT's strike ballot.

This is a bad joke! The train operating companies are bringing in Driver Only Operations which will dispense with guards altogether. In order to keep trains running on strike days, First is bringing in managers with only two days of training to do the guards jobs! And paying them 500 a shift and putting them up in the Hilton.

That's why the RMT executive has given the go-ahead to extend the strike across all FTPE guards with a ballot starting this week. First won't be able to find enough managers to operate over 500 train journeys a day, then the strike will really hit hard.

The RMT has organised a "People's March for Glenn" on the next strike day, Sunday 28th June, starting at 11am from Cleethorpes railway station and marching along the seafront prior to the Military Air Display.

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