Services are expected to run on a strike timetable until Monday at the earliest
By Lucy Ashton
Rail services may not return to normal until next week despite planned strike action being called off.
Network Rail warned preparation work for industrial action by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) was already well under way before members returned to the negotiating table with the firm on Friday.
Saturday is now expected to effectively remain a strike day, with rail bosses hoping to have timetables rectified by Monday at the earliest.
STV News reports that it understands that operators are hoping to have a resolution before the Christmas period begins, in order to prevent disruption due to strikes planned for each weekend of December.
Members of the union had been due to stage 24-hour walkouts on Saturday and next Monday and Wednesday.
RMT said the dispute remains “very much live” and it is continuing its re-ballot of members to secure a fresh mandate for action with the result due on 15 November.
Scotrail communications director David Ross said: “So, the Network Rail strikes are suspended for tomorrow. However, it is too late in the day for Scotrail to rewrite timetables and deliver rosters for thousands of staff.
“We have just 11 routes within the Central Belt and Fife and Borders operating between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
“They’re very limited, it’s only around 20% of our normal timetable will operate. So we would ask customers
to make alternative arrangements where possible.
“And if you are traveling with Scotrail, check the website. Download the app to see exactly what’s running.”
Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s chief negotiator, said: “It’s welcome news that the RMT has called off its strikes, but the very late notice means that services for tomorrow cannot be reinstated and will remain extremely limited, and while we, and our train company partners, will work without pause over the weekend, there will be limited ability to change the ‘strike timetable’ for Monday.
“Our advice remains to please check before you travel and on Saturday and Monday and only travel by rail if absolutely necessary.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group said: “It is positive that the RMT leadership have stepped back from the brink and called off their strike action.
“Unfortunately, the late notice means that while train companies are working hard to reinstate services, they will remain severely disrupted for our passengers tomorrow and into the early part of next week.
“Our advice remains to please check before you travel and on Saturday and Monday only travel by rail if necessary.
“We remain committed to intensive negotiations to agree the reforms needed to improve reliability, deliver a pay rise for our people and get the industry back on a sustainable financial footing.”