War of words

Rail minister ‘should resign’ if strike goes ahead

Glasgow station and ScotRail

Services are under threat as talks break down

Scottish Transport Minister Graeme Dey was facing calls to resign if he failed to reach a settlement with the National Union of Rail and Maritime Workers (RMT) which has rejected the latest pay offer.

Mr Dey said the RMT was misguided in its decision to go ahead with a strike during next week’s climate summit in Glasgow.

He was accused by the union of holding a gun to the union’s heads by imposing a Wednesday deadline to agree to the offer that has been accepted by three other unions.

Now the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Liberal Democrats say Mr Dey has had months to reach an agreement on a dispute which has dragged on for months. They say it could lead to strike action that will embarrass Scotland when world leaders arrive for the summit.

Graeme Dey: ‘utterly perplexed’

Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Jill Reilly said: “We are talking about delegates from around the world being unable to attend the most important climate summit of all time. Hotels in Edinburgh and elsewhere are booked out for this conference but their guests are unsure if they will even be able to reach the venue.

“The travelling public have now had six months of reduced services on the railways, it’s not like this has come out of the blue. 

“Stewart Stevenson resigned as transport minister after snow and a lack of preparedness brought key roads to a standstill. A rail shutdown would be a failure of equal magnitude. If the trains don’t run smoothly and on time for the duration of COP26, then Graeme Dey should resign.

“The eyes of the world will soon be on Scotland. Ministers need to stop grandstanding and hammer out a deal that gets the trains running.”

Mick Lynch, RMT’s general secretary said: “We have been given a wholly arbitrary deadline of 5pm on Wednesday to accept this deal or the whole pay offer will be pulled.

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