ScotRail has been accused of drawing up a secret strategy to “smash” unions and “smuggle” in driver-only trains, the issue at the centre of the current dispute.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said it had seen documents that “nail the company lie” that there is no threat to guards’ jobs and their safety-critical role.
The union claimed the documents were issued in error by ScotRail last night and then subsequently withdrawn.
According to the RMT, the documents showed the widespread extension of driver-only trains and the deployment of ticket examiners to replace conductors at short notice.
“They imply conductors are a ‘weak link’ in operation of trains and wrongly blame conductors for lower train punctuality when it is the quality of infrastructure and rolling stock that determines performance,” said the union.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “These documents, issued in error by the company, expose a hidden agenda of union busting, job cuts and attacks on safety that RMT always said was at the heart of this dispute. They blow apart the company spin that there is no threat and that our action is premature.
“The workforce has said all along that any extension of driver-only operation is a clear attack on our members’ hard-earned terms and conditions and that RMT members should not have to face the risk of their role and responsibilities being reduced and undermined. ScotRail accused us of lying but they have now been caught out red-handed and they should be ashamed of themselves.
“In light of these extraordinary revelations it is time for the Scottish Parliament to step in and call a halt to the cloak-and-dagger attacks on jobs, services and safety and force ScotRail to come to the table and start talking with us openly and honestly.”
A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “Last night, one of a series of internal discussion documents which looked at all the ideas as to how we might modernise and improve our service to our customers was made available to our staff in error. It was swiftly withdrawn and an explanation sent to our people about the error and to make clear that this was in no way a formal proposal.
“However, we shouldn’t let this distract from the real issue. Today, thousands of people are being disrupted – and hundreds of our people are being hit financially – due to a totally unnecessary strike.
“We are doing everything we can to keep people moving, the railway is very much open for business. Today we will be running 70% of our services, allowing us to carry 72% of our normal passenger load. We will be working to increase those numbers if the strikes continue.
“The RMT should call off this action, get back round the table and start meaningful discussions with us about how we continue to modernise and improve our railway.”