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Rail pay dispute will spread across Scotland – union



Rail pay dispute will spread across Scotland – union

PA Media ScotRail trainPA Media

ScotRail services have been slashed after drivers refused to work on their days off

A pay dispute involving train drivers will spread across Scotland’s public sector, a trade union chief has warned.

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser for Aslef, said train drivers were likely to launch industrial action due to a “derisory” pay offer from ScotRail.

The publicly-owned rail firm has slashed 600 services and introduced an emergency timetable after four unions rejected a deal last week.

ScotRail has apologised to customers and said it is “fully committed” to further talks with unions.

Mr Lindsay told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that Aslef train drivers had rejected an offer of a 2% pay rise backdated to 1 April, with a further 1% increase from 1 January.

Drivers have subsequently decided not to work on their days off, with Mr Lindsay claiming ScotRail relied on the “goodwill” of its staff to run the service at full capacity.

He said that following a consultation with the union’s national executive, workers were likely to be balloted on industrial action.

“It’s not just going to be Aslef that are going to be balloting – RMT, Unite, TSSA union going to ballot as well,” Mr Lindsay said.

“This is going to spread right across the whole of the public sector in Scotland until the Scottish government get real.”

Getty Images John SwinneyGetty Images

First Minister John Swinney has set out the government’s pay policy to trade unions

The Aslef organiser said First Minister John Swinney had set out the government’s pay policy in a meeting with 18 unions at his official residence, Bute House. He claimed Mr Swinney’s comments were “parroted” by ScotRail.

“It’s a fait accompli, a take it or leave it, and our members have told me they’re leaving it,” he said.

“There has been no negotiation so I can understand the frustration of Scotland’s train drivers.”

Unite, RMT and TSSA rejected the pay increase tabled by ScotRail on Friday.

ScotRail, which was nationalised in 2022, warned that peak-time services between Glasgow and Edinburgh in the morning and late afternoon would have their frequency halved from four trains per hour to two.

‘Value for money’

ScotRail managing director Joanne Maguire said it had been a “challenging few days” for the firm following the “very tough” decision to introduce a temporary time table.

She apologised and said the move was designed to provide “certainty” to customers.

Ms Maguire said ScotRail, like other UK operators, relied “on an element of rest-day working” but that it was trying to reduce that reliance.

She said the firm had been recruiting and training 160 drivers a year since 2022 but that it would always rely on some staff working on their days off.

Ms Maguire said ScotRail hoped to meet with the four trade unions in the coming weeks to discuss the pay dispute.

She told Good Morning Scotland the firm wanted to reach a deal that was “fair” to staff but that delivered “value for money” for the taxpayer.

“We’re committed to resolving the pay dispute and restoring the full timetable as soon as we possibly can,” she added.

Public sector pay

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: “ScotRail, as a public body and the employer, has responsibility and the ability to negotiate within the limits of public sector pay metrics.

“However, as rail unions have been made aware, any offer beyond these requires Scottish government approval at senior level following the appropriate process.”

She said Transport Scotland would encourage rail unions to continue discussions with ScotRail to reach a “mutually agreeable outcome” as soon as possible.

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