Pay offer aims to halt Scotrail strike during COP26
ScotRail faces a series of strikes
A pay offer will be made to rail workers in a bid to avoid a series of disruptive strikes during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Trade union Unite said a series of 24-hour stoppages will take place in the coming weeks due to what it terms the ‘reckless’ actions of Abellio Scotrail management.
Government minister Graeme Dey said he is hopeful “an appropriate and fair pay increase” could be agreed.
He said: “We are in a challenging position, financially. To put this in perspective, prior to the pandemic we were spending circa £1.1bn a year on Scotland’s railways. We are currently spending north of £1.5bn. That isn’t sustainable, so we have got significant challenges.”
The union says Abellio Scotrail has failed to make a “meaningful” pay offer, despite industrial action short of a strike taking place since 24 September.
Unless there is agreement, Unite’s engineering members plan a series of 24-hour stoppages on days which also coincide with the COP26 climate change conference being held in Glasgow (31 October-12 November).
The days scheduled for 24 hour strike action are as follows: 18-19 October, 1-2 November, 10-11 November, and 12-13 November.
A number of rail depots, workplaces and outstations will be impacted by the strike action. This includes Bathgate Depot, Corkerhill (Glasgow) Depot, Dalmuir, Glasgow Central, Glasgow Queen Street, Edinburgh Haymarket Depot, Edinburgh Waverley, Inverness Depot, Motherwell, Perth, Shields (Glasgow) Depot, and Yoker Depot.
The strike action will commence at different times on the aforementioned dates at the various locations.
Discussions with Abellio Scotrail management have continued but to date ‘no pay offer’ has been put to the trade union. There has also been ‘no movement’ on a number of Unite’s demands including the reinstatement of the Rest Day Working Agreement for around 250 engineers who provide maintenance, overhaul and repair services for the railway rolling stock.
Unite’s engineering members at Abellio Scotrail voted by 78% in support of strike action in a 68.4% ballot turnoutm, while 92% supported taking industrial action short of a strike.
Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite has been left with no choice but to resolutely respond to the reckless behaviour displayed by Abellio Scotrail management. While discussions have continued these talks have produced absolutely nothing.
“There has been no pay offer and no movement by the company. The talks have been spun out and cynically used as a delaying tactic to avoid the national embarrassment of having strike action during the COP26 climate change conference which is being held in Glasgow.
“Well, these tactics have spectacularly backfired because our engineering members will now hold several 24 hour stoppages in the coming weeks.
“We want the Scottish public to know that we have exhausted the process. Unite’s members have been holding action short of strike in an attempt to get Abellio Scotrail to wake up, and to recognise the storm that they have created to no effect.
“Now strike action will severely disrupt events and the COP26 climate change conference due to this shambolic company. The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland must urgently intervene because the Abellio Scotrail management clearly lack the ability, humility and intelligence to live up to their responsibilities with respect to the workforce, and the Scottish public.”