Unite ends rail dispute, but RMT still set to strike
Disruption still expected on rail network
Unite members have accepted a pay offer with Abellio Scotrail which means three of the four trade unions have agreed to end their long dispute.
However, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers has again rejected the offer.
Delegates attending the union’s AGM in Leeds confirmed the strike action would go ahead during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow after describing the proposed deal as “poor, loaded with productivity strings and wholly unacceptable”.
About 250 Unite engineering members who provide maintenance, overhaul and repair services for the railway rolling stock will receive an increase over two years of 2.5% backdated to April 2021 followed by a 2.2% increase from April 2022.
Unite’s members will also receive a one-off £300, and there is a commitment to provide additional jobs within the engineering section to assist with maintenance work being brought back in-house.
The pay deal was supported by 75% in a 67% ballot turnout. The agreement now brings Unite’s industrial dispute with Abellio Scotrail to an end, and Unite members will not be taking further industrial action.
Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “After a long and arduous journey with Abellio Scotrail we have finally reached an agreement with the company over our pay dispute.
“It shouldn’t have been this difficult to achieve and it shouldn’t have been taken to the wire by Abellio Scotrail. This deal will ensure our members receive a significant pay award over two years, while a number of the outstanding issues we have such as rest day working are being ironed out.
“We are satisfied that our members, who ultimately made this democratic decision, have got a deal which rewards their hard work, and strike action by Unite members has now been averted with COP26 just around the corner.”
The TSSA union – which represents managers in the conductor and revenue teams at Scotland’s train operator – said last week it was accepting the improved pay offer. Aslef has also accepted.
Colin Edgar, head of communications for Glasgow City Council, today acknowledged that the planned strikes would create problems for those attending the event if they are staying in Edinburgh.
He told an evidence hearing of the Scottish Affairs Committee of MPs in Glasgow: “If you can’t get the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow, and the trains are cancelled, then they can’t get here. That’s absolutely the case. I would suggest that’s why the unions have chosen to strike at this time.”
Mr Edgar added: “It is going to be a serious problem for those people if they have come from around the world, and are only 45 minutes away if they can’t get a bus, or an Uber, then that’s going to be a real problem for them.”