RAILWAYS: Widespread disruption as ScotRail strike goes ahead

Glasgow Queen Street
RMT members gathered outside Glasgow Queen Street station on Monday

BBC Scotland is reporting that ScotRail services have faced widespread disruption as staff staged a 24-hour strike.

The industrial action follows the RMT union’s rejection of the latest pay offer made to non-driving rail workers.

Dispatchers, station staff, conductors, ticket examiners and cleaners were among staff who were not working.

The RMT said they were prepared to “keep fighting” for a fair offer to cover the rising cost of living.

The strike was confirmed on Thursday when the RMT said it would not recommend members accept an improved offer tabled by ScotRail two days earlier.

  • The rail operator said there no services running between Glasgow and Edinburgh and just a handful on three central belt routes, which ended at 18:30.

The company said the limited services were all it could offer due to the number of contingency staff required to cover the shifts of those on strike.

This strike is separate from the RMT’s dispute with Network Rail which has seen disruption across the whole of Britain’s railway network on a number of days since July.

Picket line, Dumfries
RMT members also formed a picket lines at  stations.

The last offer made to staff was a 5% increase, but the RMT, which represents the majority of non-driver ScotRail staff, is holding out for more.

Mick Hogg, senior organiser for Scotland and Northern Ireland, told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland: “I would say to John Swinney ‘get round the table and start actually talking to the RMT in order to find a solution’.”

“As far as I’m concerned, the money is there, the problem I’ve got is no one is prepared to listen. We’re prepared to fight and keep fighting until we get a pay increase that actually reflects the cost of living crisis.”

He said the union wanted a “fair settlement” that came somewhere near inflation of 12.3% because the “bosses are getting richer and workers are getting poorer”.

Mr Hogg vowed the union would “seriously consider” an offer of 8.2 – 8.3% but warned that the 5% on the table was “way below what we would consider to be a reasonable offer”.

He added: “If it is good enough for the Scottish government to give bin workers and teachers a 10% pay increase then it is good enough for rail workers.”

“The bosses don’t hold back when they give themselves pay rises and we have a situation within Scotland’s railway where the managing director is on a salary of £335,000 and we have a CEO of ScotRail holdings on £120,000 for a three-day week.”

Mr Hogg also confirmed that, at present, no further talks were planned.

Striking rail worker
RMT members are striking over pay, conditions and proposed changes to the business

ScotRail said it had been informed by the RMT that its general grades members would also take part in an overtime and rest day working ban from Friday 14 October, which would have some impact to services until the dispute was resolved.

The rail operator said it was disappointed with the current situation.

Phil Campbell, head of customer operations, said: “We’re really disappointed that the dispute with the RMT has reached this outcome, given the strength of the improved pay offer ScotRail made.

“This strike action does nothing for the railway’s recovery at this fragile time. It will severely impact our customers and it will also cost our staff through lost wages.

“Due to the large number of ScotRail staff who are members of the RMT, ScotRail customers should expect significant disruption to services on Monday, 10 October, as we won’t be able to operate the vast majority of our services.

“We remain open to resolving this dispute.”

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