By Bill Heaney
STV News is reporting that train drivers in Scotland are considering industrial action for the first time in 20 years following a “derisory” pay offer by ScotRail, according to a trade union.
ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said that it was being left with “no option” but to weigh up taking action.
The action under consideration would include strike action, the union has stated.
It comes after a pay offer was made by ScotRail, which the union has claimed “takes no account” of the cost of living crisis faced by workers.
The union last month welcomed the nationalisation of ScotRail after Scotland’s railways entered public ownership.
It saw the Scottish Government take over the running of the railways in the country from April 1 via an arms-length company.
ASLEF Scotland organiser Kevin Lindsay on Monday insisted that ScotRail and the Scottish Government “must recognise” that workers deserve a “decent pay rise”, as he urged them to return to the negotiating table.
“ASLEF members who have kept the country moving throughout the pandemic have been presented with a derisory pay offer from ScotRail management which takes no account of the cost of living crisis workers face,” he said.
“Scotland’s train drivers did not make the decision to consider industrial action lightly – indeed we have not had a single pay dispute with Scotland’s railway operators for 21 years.
“Yet, just one month into the Scottish Government’s stewardship of ScotRail we are being left with no option but to consider action in response.
“Scotrail and the Scottish Government must recognise that these key workers deserve a decent pay rise, they should return to the negotiating table with a much fairer deal that recognises the vital work our members do.”
ScotRail and Transport Scotland have been contacted for a comment.
“The SNP promised a bold new era when they nationalised ScotRail – but within a month they look set to transport passengers back to the 1970s,” said Simpson.
“The public have already been saddled with combination of rising fares and a reduced service – now they are threatened with even more disruption due to strike action.
“This is quite unacceptable at a time when demand is increasing as more and more people return to normal work patterns post-pandemic.
“Ministers and ScotRail must return to the negotiating table to thrash out a deal that averts strikes or risk their much-touted nationalisation descending into chaos.”