Trains axed

ScotRail cuts third of services in driver pay row

Glasgow station and ScotRail
Rail services will be reduced (pic: Terry Murden)

Rail passengers will face a curtailed service from next week after ScotRail cut a third of all trains in a pay dispute with drivers.

Almost 700 services a day will be axed from Monday because drivers are refusing to work overtime. Late trains on many routes will not run.

The drastic action comes just weeks after the service was nationalised. The May 2022 timetable had approximately 2,150 weekday services. From next week this will be reduced by a third to 1,456.

Similar cuts are expected to be made to the Saturday and Sunday timetables with details expected to be made public in the coming days.

Drivers’ union Aslef balloted members for strike action after rejecting a 2.2% pay offer. A top-up revenue sharing arrangement could potentially deliver up to an extra £195 for all staff per period. The full package would apply where revenue targets are exceeded.

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “We are very sorry to customers for the disruption of recent days.

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“We know what customers want more than anything is certainty and reliability, which is why we are introducing a temporary timetable.

“We want to resolve this dispute with the trade unions and move forward together to provide the safest, greenest, and most reliable railway we can for Scotland.”

Like many train operators across Britain, ScotRail has relied on drivers working overtime or on their rest days. In 2019, ScotRail committed to employing more drivers to phase out the reliance on this practice. However, the pandemic meant that driver training was significantly delayed.

ScotRail is still awaiting formal notification from ASLEF and the RMT on the details of the ballots of its members for industrial action.

ScotRail said it is disappointed to find itself at this stage with both trade unions, despite a very good offer being made.

Scottish Labour Transport spokesperson Neil Bibby said: “A matter of weeks after the SNP government took over ScotRail it has already joined the long list of services bungled by the SNP.

“Services are being plunged into chaos, workers are being treated with contempt, and passengers are being left in the lurch – but the SNP are no-where to be seen. “

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