SUNDAY RAIL SERVICES: Additional ticket examiners and conductors have been recruited

Helensburgh Central railway station and (top of page) Dumbarton Central Station.
 Pictures by Joe Porter and Bill Heaney

By Bill Heaney

It has been six months since people were able to get a train on a Sunday, Green Party MSP Maggie Chapman told the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
And she asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is there were any solutions in  sight following talks between Scotrail and the railway trade unions.
Ms Sturgeon told her: “The Minister for Transport meets ScotRail and trade unions regularly. He met trade union representatives on 24 June, and subsequently met Abellio. I met the Scottish Trade Union Congress on 12 August.
“On each occasion, we expressed our disappointment about the current dispute affecting ScotRail’s Sunday services and urged all parties to seek resolution.

“I understand that the transport minister is meeting Unite the union today and has offered with to meet the other rail unions. We want all parties to get around the table and identify solutions to the challenges that our rail services face.”

Ms Chapman said she noted the comment made by the transport minister, in which he called on everyone to act responsibly.

She added: “It has been six months since people were able to get a train on a Sunday. It seems that Abellio has little interest in acting responsibly, given that the ScotRail franchise is soon to be transferred to public ownership.

“It is clear that we need a long-term partnership between the workers, passengers and the Government to avoid the problems that have arisen with Abellio.

“Will the First Minister tell me how her Government will bring the situation to an end in the short term? Can she also give us an assurance that when ScotRail is brought into public ownership, the governance structure will include representatives of workers and passengers, as well as appointees, on the board?”

Nicola Sturgeon said: “I can give an assurance on fair work; in my view, part of fair work is having good industrial relations as well as engagement and discussion with trade unions. I expect that to be at the heart of ScotRail services as they come into public ownership.

“I know that members are aware of the reasons behind the current dispute, which arose from an agreement made during Covid for enhanced rest-day working.

“Now that additional ticket examiners and conductors have been recruited, the issue of excessive rest-day working has been resolved.

“The unions and workers—I understand why this is the case—want to keep the temporary allowance and make it permanent, whereas ScotRail’s view is that that is not sustainable.

“Again, I call on both parties to get around the table to find an agreement. It is in no one’s interest—not least the workers’ interest—for the dispute to continue any longer. We will continue to encourage the parties to do that. “

Despite the horror story surrounding the Firth of Clyde shipyard which was brought into public ownership by her government, following delays which will  send the bill for two new Calmac ferries rocketing to one third of £1 billion, the First Minister said she was looking forward to the railways coming into public ownership in January next year.

Joint Statement from Scotland’s Rail Unions
This weekend SNP members will be discussing transport and rail services. We are calling on delegates to:
> Reject ScotRail’s plan to cut 300 services a day
> Ditch Professor Docherty’s plans – they should play no part in the future of a publicly owned railway in Scotland under the SNP/Green coalition
> Call on Ministers to intervene and negotiate fair settlements to the current industrial disputes at Abellio ScotRail and the company’s appalling attitude towards industrial relations.
> Commit to an affordable, clean, green, reliable and modern railway that is publicly owned and accountable with representatives of all of Scotland’s rail unions on the board of any new organisation running our railways
> Demand a future where Scotland’s railways will see jobs retained, services improved, outsourcing ended and rail making a major contribution to meeting Scotland’s environmental targets and obligations.
RMT Scotland TSSA Scotland Unite Scotland Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)
Cardross railway station on the banks of the River Clyde.

Leave a Reply