Pay dispute

ScotRail ‘astonished’ at Aslef not putting offer to members

electric train class 380
Train drivers were not asked to vote on pay offer

A ScotRail manager said today that it was “astonishing” that union bosses have not allowed their members to vote on an improved pay offer and has called for further talks next Monday.

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, expressed his frustration at the slow progress in settling the dispute after announcing a new round of changes to Sunday services to provide greater certainty to passengers.

The temporary changes result from a significant number of drivers declining to make themselves available for overtime or rest day working.

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.

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The changes to the timetables follow an announcement by ASLEF that its executive committee has rejected ScotRail’s improved pay offer made last week. It did not recommend allowing its members a say on the offer. 

Mr Simpson said: “We’re sorry to customers for the disruption on Sundays over recent weeks so this temporary timetable will provide greater certainty and reliability for customers,” he said.

“We’re incredibly disappointed and frustrated that ASLEF bosses have rejected this improved pay offer. It’s astonishing that they will not even put this offer to their members. 

“Our substantially improved pay offer reflects the cost-of-living challenges faced by families across the country, while balancing it against the need to provide value for the taxpayer. 

“We have offered to meet ASLEF but, in the meantime, would urge them to reconsider this offer in the interest of their members and the future of the railway in Scotland.

“We’re asking customers to check their journey on our website, mobile app, and through our social media channels as train times will have changed.”

Aslef’s Scottish organiser, Kevin Lindsay, said the talks would go ahead on Monday and that his aim was to avoid industrial action by negotiating a deal that was acceptable to his members.

But he warned that the railways could be hit by a series of 24-hour strikes if the issue is not resolved. ScotRail last week said its revised offer is “final”.

Passengers will be able to see the new temporary timetable for Sunday on the ScotRail website and app from Saturday morning, as customer information systems are currently updating. 

All temporary timetables can be viewed on the ScotRail website – ScotRail | Temporary Timetable.

Last week, ScotRail added late-night services to timetables for Fridays and Saturdays, and this will continue this weekend.

Aside from the 4.2% increase in basic pay, the revised offer includes:

  • An excess revenue share premium, which rewards all colleagues where ScotRail exceeds revenue budget targets. This scheme will also be backdated to 1 April 2022. The premium would be subject to review as part of pay talks for 2023/24. Using the first two railway periods of 2022/23 as an illustrative example, this proposal would be worth £195 per four-week period.
  • A three-year commitment to a no-compulsory redundancy agreement.
  • A commitment to bring Sundays into the working week within a five-year period with full implementation by the 2027 December timetable.
  • An improvement in maternity and adoption leave payments comprising of: 13 weeks standard pay, then 13 weeks at 50 per cent standard pay, then 13 weeks at statutory maternity pay.
  • Sunday working allowance (SWA) increased by 10 per cent. Drivers and their local representatives will work with local management to ensure that all Sunday work is covered until this work is brought within the working week.

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