Union says ScotRail strikes will continue ‘as long as it takes’

scotrail train and commuters
Rail network has been severely disrupted by series of industrial disputes.

BBC Scotland is reporting that strike action by ScotRail workers that will largely cripple Scotland’s rail network on Saturday will continue as long as it takes to secure a fair pay deal, their union has said.

There will be no services running through Dunbartonshire or Argyll and Bute.

The RMT union rejected an improved pay increase of almost 7.5% for its lowest-paid members earlier this week.

It means more than 2,000 workers will strike on Saturday.

Trains will only run on three routes in the central belt, with all other services cancelled.

The three routes that will operate are:

  • Milngavie – Edinburgh Waverley via Glasgow Queen Street Low Level (half hourly service)
  • Glasgow Central – Lanark (hourly service)
  • Glasgow Central – Larkhall (hourly service)

It means there will be a very limited service for rugby fans heading to Scotland’s first autumn international match against Australia at Murrayfield, with fans advised to consider alternative arrangements.

The latest pay offer by ScotRail had been conditional on the strike being called off, and has now been withdrawn.

It would have seen workers given a £500 uplift on top of the 5% that had already been offered, which it said would have been the equivalent of a 7.5% pay rise for the lowest paid.

The RMT has previously said it would “seriously consider” an offer of about 8.2%.

ScotRail RMT members previously went on strike on 10 October, with an overtime and rest day working ban, also put in place by the union, causing cancellations across the rail network over the past fortnight.

Rail services have also been severely disrupted in recent months by a series of separate disputes with workers including ScotRail drivers – which has been resolved – and Network Rail staff.

Network Rail members of the RMT are due to hold more 24-hour strikes on 5, 7 and 9 November.

The union’s Scottish organiser, Mick Hogg, right, said it was fighting to protect living standards and working conditions and described the latest pay offer as “nowhere near acceptable” as it was well below the inflation rate.

He told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme that members of other rail unions who had already accepted lower pay offers should join the RMT instead as it would “fight for a better deal”.

Glasgow Queen Street
The dispute saw RMT workers hold a 24-hour strike earlier this month

Mr Hogg said the strikes would continue “as long as it takes” and dismissed suggestions that the disruption would cause long-term damage to the rail network by putting people off using trains.

He added: “We want a successful railway but we need to get real – the bosses are being paid an absolute fortune.

“The Scottish government should take control of the situation and instruct ScotRail to get round the negotiating table and hammer out a deal.”

The government took control of ScotRail in April after deciding to nationalise the rail franchise.

ScotRail service delivery director David Simpson said what the RMT was looking for was unaffordable.

He added: “We have had a very frustrating week with the RMT. We’ve worked hard to find a way to get more money in our staff’s pockets in a way that is affordable to the Scottish public given the financial challenges facing the industry.

“This week we were able to find a way to improve the offer significantly. We hear from members they are keen to get this resolved and keen to start providing a great service to customers again.

“The condition for the improved offer was withdrawing the action. The rest of the offer remains on the table.”

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