ScotRail warns of disruption despite strike call off

By Bill Heaney

Rail travellers are facing another day of disruption despite strikes being called off.

ScotRail said a “very limited” timetable would be in operation on Monday ahead of a full service resuming on Tuesday (tomorrow).

People should only travel if they really needed to, the train operator owned by the Scottish government said.

On Friday the RMT union halted industrial action planned for Saturday, Monday and Wednesday.

The union, which represents rail workers, has said it will enter “a period of intensive negotiations” with Network Rail and the rail companies after it received “the promise of an offer”.

The strike had been called in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Monday’s limited services would run between 07:30 and 18:30, but only one of them, would be running from Edinburgh Waverley to Helensburgh, where there would be two trains per hour.

ScotRail said the decision came too late to prevent severe disruption to its services, with just 11 routes remaining open on Saturday.

The company said later that it had been advised by Network Rail that it would not be able to operate all its routes until Tuesday.

It said it had been working “round the clock” to restore the full timetable since the strike was suspended.

A spokesperson described it as a “complex process which involves rewriting train timetables and rosters for thousands of our staff, and getting trains to where they need to be”.

ScotRail confirmed that Monday’s limited service would run on the following routes, mainly between 07:30 and 18:30, but only one of them, would be running from Edinburgh Waverley to Helensburgh, where there would be two trains per hour. On the Glasgow Queen Street – Oban/Mallaig the  normal weekday service would be running.

ScotRail said it was working to add more services and routes to Monday’s timetable and urged customers to check ahead before travelling.

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said:  ”ScotRail welcomes the announcement that planned strike action on 7 and 9 November by RMT members at Network Rail has been suspended.

“Strike action does nothing for the railway’s recovery or reputation at this fragile time. It impacts customers, staff, and the economy. ”

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “While it is positive news that the RMT has called off these strikes, the very late notice means that it is not possible to reintroduce a full timetable on Saturday and Monday.

“We are working hard alongside ScotRail and our other operators to reintroduce services as quickly as possible for customers.

“We remain committed to working positively with our trades unions to find a resolution to this dispute.”

ScotRail dispute

Meanwhile talks over a separate industrial dispute involving more than 2,000 ScotRail workers are due to resume on Monday.

The RMT has previously threatened to escalate the ScotRail dispute by walking out on the day of Scotland’s rugby international against Argentina on 19 November and on every Friday and Saturday after that until Christmas.

ScotRail has previously offered all staff a 5% pay uplift plus add-ons, which it said would represent a 7.4% increase for the lowest-paid staff.

It has urged the union to put that offer to its members, although the RMT has said it would “seriously consider” an 8.2% increase.

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