Scottish Government hopes ‘fair pay increase’ can be agreed for ScotRail staff
The Scottish Government has signalled a possible end to the long running industrial disputes over pay which have been disrupting ScotRail services since March. Transport minister Graeme Dey told the BBC that ScotRail management, the RMT and Unite were being ‘actively encouraged’ to find a solution.
He continued: ‘We need to step back from some of the rhetoric that has been dominating the agenda of late and focus on trying to get a suitable outcome to this. But we are in a challenging position, financially. To put this in perspective, prior to the pandemic we were spending circa £1.1 billion a year on Scotland’s railways. We are currently spending north of £1.5 billion. That isn’t sustainable, so we have got significant challenges. I understand that later today the unions and ScotRail are meeting and a fresh offer is likely to be tabled. It’s one I hope that the unions will view in the spirit that it is going to be made and consider settling these disputes.’
Industrial action by Unite engineers is now set to take place during the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Unite engineers at ScotRail have voted by 78 per cent in favour of a strike, while 92 per cent approved industrial action short of a strike. Unite said it had been left with ‘no choice’ but to respond to the ‘reckless behaviour’ of ScotRail management, while separate RMT disputes also remain unresolved. ScotRail, which will be run by Abellio until the operator is nationalised in March, said the financial position was ‘stark’. A spokesman continued: ‘To build a more sustainable and greener railway for the future and reduce the burden on the taxpayer, we need to change.’