Unite says Springburn could be saved

Matheson ‘turned down offer to nationalise rail yard’

St Rollox Works (date and photog unknown)

Springburn depot is due to close (pic source unknown)


Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has been criticised by Unite union leaders for turning down an offer to bring the Springburn Rail depot into public hands.

Unite has revealed that Gemini Rail Services, which owns the depot, offered the Cabinet Secretary a nominal fee in order to nationalise and save the historic St Rollox maintenance yard which employs 200 workers.

Following the latest developments, Unite has called for the urgent intervention by the Scottish Parliament to force the Scottish Government to reconsider taking a strategic public stake in the depot. Unite says on-site electrification could connect the depot to the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line at an estimated cost of less than £1m which could come from £4.8 billion allocated to Holyrood for rail infrastructure from Westminster.

The union also wants to bring the depot under the Scottish Government’s control as an asset of strategic importance to the nation’s transport infrastructure. It says the Scottish Government set a precedent when it brought Glasgow Prestwick Airport under its control in November 2013.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The point blank refusal by Michael Matheson to bring the Springburn Rail Depot under the Scottish Government’s control is unforgivable. Despite our criticism of Gemini Rail, the company actually presented Michael Matheson with a viable process which would enable the depot to be taken into public hands, and even offered a considerable sum of money to make this happen.

“Instead, the workforce have been told ‘we don’t do nationalisation’. Well that’s just a lie as the Prestwick Airport example illustrates. So, this isn’t about money because as we know the depot is profitable, this is now about political hostility by the Scottish Government to a solution which could secure the depot and a future for its workforce.

“That is why Unite is now calling on the Scottish Parliament to act in the national interest by forcing the Scottish Government to retain a vital part of our nation’s transport infrastructure.”

Gemini has stated that the yard is suffering a decline in work and suffering from unsustainable losses.

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