Transport Minister comments on rail strike action
Please find below an updated statement in relation to the ScotRail dispute and strike action ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference.
Transport Minister Graeme Dey said:
“We remain utterly perplexed at the position the RMT leadership is taking here. While we think their action is misguided and does their members no favours, we of course respect the right of trade unions to do what they think is appropriate for their membership.
“But we are clear that this is a fair and good offer that will put cash in the pockets of rail workers who have worked hard during the pandemic. This is evidenced by the fact that the 3 other rail unions (ASLEF UNITE and TSSA) have accepted it.
“ScotRail, with the full support of the Scottish Government, has tried a number of times to reach a deal with the RMT leadership – as of yesterday, the offer being made to its members consisted of a 4.7% pay increase over this and next year, a £300 payment for COP26, an additional payment equivalent to three hours salary for booking on for a Rest Day shift for the rest of the year.
“That last enhancement was offered just yesterday, and we understood that we were close to agreement with negotiators apparently happy with the offer, RMT leaders have then moved the goalposts.
“For all the ScotRail employees who are RMT members, there is no doubt they would benefit from this pay settlement. We intend to deliver on the offer in relation to workers in the unions who have accepted it, including giving them the additional rest day working enhancement payment. That is the right thing to do.
“What the RMT is now asking for is neither reasonable nor affordable. The travelling public deserve and need to know what rail service will be operating in the next two weeks. That is why we put a deadline of Wednesday for this offer to be accepted – the enhanced offer remains on the table until then. At that point, we must focus on making alternative plans for rail operations during COP26.
“I am sad that many of our railway employees will miss out on the chance to help showcase what they and Scotland’s railway are doing to help make Scotland greener and fairer. I know that many of them will be sad too, not least to be missing out on a substantial increase in pay. There is still time to avoid a situation which no one surely wants, where train services are severely disrupted and hardworking RMT members lose out - but following this decision by the RMT, regrettably that is where we may now find ourselves.”
“ScotRail will now go ahead and honour the pay offer for those unions which have accepted it and also those who are not members of unions.”
The settlement on offer to RMT members would see an increase in basic salaries as follows of between £1700- £2600. There is also an additional £300 for supporting services during COP26 and an enhanced rest day working rate.
In the current unprecedented challenging financial circumstances this can only be described as a very good offer which three of the four Trade Unions have accepted.