Rail workers set to strike in Scotland throughout Cop26

RAIL workers are set to go on strike in Scotland throughout the Cop26 global climate conference, the RMT union has confirmed, paving the way for huge disruption.

ScotRail staff will strike from Monday November 1 until Friday November 12.

Staff on the Caledonian Sleeper, which is run by Serco, will hold two 24-hour strikes – one from 11.59am on Sunday October 31 and one on Thursday November 11, also from 11.59am.

The industrial action centres on a dispute over pay and conditions.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Both Scotrail and the Caledonian Sleeper have had adequate time to come up with a fair pay settlement for Scotland’s rail workers in advance of COP26.

“Instead they have kicked the can down the road and left us with no option but to put this action on today.

“We know that these strikes will close rail services in Scotland but the blame for that lies with Abellio, Serco and the political leadership at Holyrood.

“It’s time for all parties to take their rail workers seriously, get back round the table and give these staff at the front line of our green transport services the justice, respect and reward they deserve.”

The union had earlier announced the result of a ballot in which 84 per cent of more than 2,000 members backed more strikes over the ScotRail dispute.

Sunday train services in Scotland have already been disrupted for months as workers protest over pay and conditions.

A ScotRail spokesman said: “It’s extremely disappointing that the RMT have opted to continue with this highly damaging strike action, particularly when a pay offer, negotiated over several weeks, has been made to the trade unions.

“We’re seeing customers gradually return to Scotland’s Railway, but the scale of the financial situation ScotRail is facing is stark.

“To build a more sustainable and greener railway for the future and reduce the burden on the taxpayer, we need to change.

“All of us in the railway – management, staff, trade unions, suppliers, and government – need to work together to modernise the railway so that it is fit for the future.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We welcome the constructive talks which have taken place between all parties.

“A significant offer has been made by employers since this RMT ballot opened and we understand that the RMT will now ballot its membership again on the substance of this offer.  

“We hope that RMT members and the other unions will agree and accept this offer, putting to an end existing and proposed industrial disputes and action.

“Rail workers have played their part in keeping the country moving through the pandemic and we are sure that they will see the importance of the moment and the role they can play in showing the best Scotland’s Railway has to offer as we welcome world leaders from across the globe to Cop26.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last week that she hoped the dispute could be resolved before Cop26.

She said: “I would strongly encourage both sides of this dispute to get back round the table and find a resolution that is in the interests of those who work in our railways.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992