Rail staff reject online tickets
Ticketing staff at rail firm GNER are to take industrial action, claiming the company is unfairly imposing job cuts.
The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) says GNER refuses to discuss plans to close ticket counters.
GNER says it expects to reduce staffing over the next five years but that there would be no compulsory redundancies.
From Friday, TSSA members will refuse to issue tickets bought online, and customers must collect them from automated ticketing machines.
The industrial action will continue indefinitely.
TSSA spokesman Brian Brock said: "We are a union that has never been opposed to progress but GNER has not been willing to sit down and discuss the changes with us.
"We have been trying to discuss this with GNER since April without any success, and what we have found is that the company is actually forcing changes by closing windows and counters, and putting more fast ticket machines in."
GNER spokesman John Gelson denied the company was forcing through job cuts or closing ticket counters.
He said: "At Durham we've invested just over £1m in refurbishing and rebuilding a new travel centre, which we wouldn't be doing if we were in the business of cutting such services.
"There is a real shift towards online custom across the entire service sector. It's not unique to the rail system.
"I can't say nobody will lose their jobs, but I can say we expect to achieve any reduction in numbers through natural turnover or voluntary redeployment."