The Chapter of York said the move was part of its commitment to “a fully trained, motivated and engaged body of staff and volunteers by 2020”.
A spokeswoman said: “Since 2014, we’ve been working with our groups of volunteers to introduce a consistent standard of recruitment, induction, training and development.
“It is also critically important to ensure that there is a consistent approach to health and safety, governance and risk management across all of our volunteer teams.
“In order to make these changes, we sometimes need to close existing volunteering roles so that we can move forward with the new processes. This is what has happened with our bell ringers.”
She added: “It also means that the main bells will be silent until we have recruited a new team in the new year.
“We recognise that this will be disappointing for the current team. However, they will be free to apply for the new roles as they become available.”
in response to claims the volunteers were immediately locked out of the bell tower, the spokeswoman said: “It does mean that they will no longer have access to the bell tower.
“That is non-negotiable as Chapter is responsible for the safety and security of all of the Minster’s spaces.”