THE Springburn rolling stock refurbishment plant in Glasgow is to close, with 120 jobs set to be lost.
Its new owners Gemini Rail Services have blamed a fall-off in contracts to upgrade older rolling stock.
Thousands of new vehicles are coming into service on Scottish routes and the rest of the National Rail network, and there is less demand for work to be done improving and modernising older vehicles.
The RMT has condemned the closure of Springburn, which was owned by Knorr-Bremse until recently, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed her ‘extreme’ disappointment.
Local MSP Bob Doris of the SNP had asked a question in the Edinburgh Parliament about the prospects for Springburn now, describing the announcement as a ‘devastating blow’.
Ms Sturgeon replied: ‘I know this will be a very concerning time for workers and their families. However, and I want to stress this point, we believe consideration does still need to be given to potential options for keeping the site open. There will be a further meeting of stakeholders at the end of this month to discuss the way forward.’
Work will continue on current projects at Springburn until July, while Germini has kept the lease until March 2020.
There is still time to work with industry to explore whether Springburn could be rescued for further rail-related uses. Ms Sturgeon added: ‘To that end, Scottish Enterprise has already engaged independent financial advice in reviewing Gemini Rail’s model for the site.’
Mr Doris also accused Gemini Rail of being ‘inflexible and uncooperative’. A spokesman responded: ‘It is very clear, as it has been for some time, that numbers of pre-privatisation rolling stock which have been the cornerstone of business for many years, are in severe decline.’
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Gemini haven’t even had the guts to tell the Springburn staff face to face that they are pulling the plug and have chosen instead to notify them through the media.
‘Gemini might think they can walk away from 160 years of history and 200 engineering jobs but RMT won’t. The case for ScotRail and its engineering and fleet support to be taken into public ownership is now overwhelming. The campaign to save Springburn and rail engineering jobs in Scotland is far from over. ‘