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ScotRail warns of further disruption as fresh strike announced this month

·4-min read
Commuters and travellers at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station. ScotRail is set for more disruption after fresh strikes were announced by the RMT union.Picture date: Monday May 23, 2022. (PA Wire)
Commuters and travellers at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station. ScotRail is set for more disruption after fresh strikes were announced by the RMT union.Picture date: Monday May 23, 2022. (PA Wire)

Passengers have been warned of further disruption later this month as more rail strikes by Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have been announced.

ScotRail officials told the PA news agency they are “still assessing” the impact of strikes by RMT members in Network Rail, but it is “likely” services will face the same level of disruption seen when rail workers downed tools for three days last month.

The operator is still operating a temporary timetable after a dispute with drivers union Aslef where workers refused to work overtime or on rest days as a removal of goodwill over pay and conditions.

Earlier this week, Aslef accepted a 5% pay rise. ScotRail says teams are working hard to re-introduce the full timetable as quickly as possible and depends on drivers returning to work rest days and overtime.

Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and Government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes

Mick Lynch, RMT

On Wednesday, ScotRail confirmed the timetable would still be in place when Gerry Cinnamon plays at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Saturday and Sunday.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail’s head of customer operations, said: “We’re pleased that Aslef members have voted to accept our pay deal, however our temporary timetable will still be in place this weekend.

“We’re urging customers travelling to Hampden Park to see Gerry Cinnamon perform to plan ahead, to check their entire journey, and to know their travel options.

“There will be a very limited number of trains departing the city centre after the concert on Saturday night, and there will be no trains after the event on Sunday, so please check your entire journey and know what alternative transport is available.”

Meanwhile, workers in the RMT union are to stage a fresh strike in the bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, threatening travel chaos at the height of the summer holidays.

RMT members at train companies and Network Rail will walk out for 24 hours on July 27.

Union leaders made the announcement after rejecting a new offer from Network Rail which they described as “paltry”.

ScotRail is urging customers travelling to Hampden Park to see Gerry Cinnamon this weekend to check their entire journey due to the current reduced timetable. (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)
ScotRail is urging customers travelling to Hampden Park to see Gerry Cinnamon this weekend to check their entire journey due to the current reduced timetable. (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

The offer was for a 4% pay rise backdated to January, another 2% next year and a further 2% conditional on achieving “modernisation milestones”.

The RMT said it has yet to receive a pay offer or guarantees over job losses from the train operating companies (TOCs).

The RMT said it will be consulting other unions that have delivered mandates for strike action in the coming days, amid talk of co-ordinated walkouts.

Members of the drivers’ union Aslef and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) at train companies have backed industrial action in recent days.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The offer from Network Rail represents a real-terms pay cut for our members and the paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives.

“We have made progress on compulsory redundancies, but Network Rail are still seeking to make our members poorer when we have won in some cases double what they are offering, with other rail operators.

“The train operating companies remain stubborn and are refusing to make any new offer which deals with job security and pay.

“Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and Government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes, until we get a negotiated settlement.

There should be no conflation of this GB-wide dispute with the pay negotiations for ScotRail staff, which are a separate matter

Transport Scotland spokesperson

“The public who will be inconvenienced by our strike action need to understand that it is the Government’s shackling of Network Rail and the TOCs that means the rail network will be shut down for 24 hours.”

The RMT held three strikes last month which crippled services across the country.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “While this particular dispute is a matter for the RMT union and the relevant employers, clearly we would all like to see all the current industrial disputes settled for the benefit of passengers, staff and communities alike. This is particularly important given the current cost-of-living crisis.

“There should be no conflation of this GB-wide dispute with the pay negotiations for ScotRail staff, which are a separate matter. Indeed, the approach taken here in Scotland has resulted in Aslef members already voting to accept the fair and affordable pay offer negotiated with ScotRail. The Transport Minister wrote to Grant Shapps making this clear and also that we will be very clear with the public where the responsibility for this issue rests. It is not a matter in which the Scottish Government has any locus and we expect the UK Government to prioritise an urgent resolution.

“The Scottish Government adheres to a policy that no compulsory redundancy agreements should be negotiated for public sector workers wherever possible. The Transport Minister has made clear to Network Rail that we will not support any position which leads Network Rail to enforce any redundancies of their staff in Scotland, as this is not consistent with Scottish Government policy.”

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