ScotRail strikes that have frustrated passengers on Sundays since the spring are set to escalate amid increasing tensions between trade unions and Abellio managers.
ScotRail strikes have stopped the majority of train travel around Scotland every Sunday since April 28. Union RMT is calling for “pay justice and equality” for conductors.
The situation for Scotland’s passengers worsened on Monday evening after Unite union highlighted the “lack of a meaningful pay offer” for engineers.
Unite has promised four further 24-hour strikes during the working week in October and November.
ScotRail is in discussion with four trade unions, also including drivers’ union ASLEF and the TSSA.
When are the proposed strikes?
The Unite union has announced 24-hour strikes on 18-19 October, 1-2 November, 10-11 November, and 12-13 November.
The strike action will commence at different times on the aforementioned dates at the various locations, according to Unite.
The RMT has scheduled ScotRail Sunday strikes to continue until at least Sunday, October 31.
These strikes are expected to continue on Sundays after that date unless there is a breakthrough between unions and managers.
ScotRail will continue to run some Sunday services.
Why is there a threat of more ScotRail strikes now?
Unite has chosen to organise strikes during the COP26 world climate talks in Glasgow in the hope the threat of an “embarrassing” action will break a deadlock in the pay talks.
The union claims it is a “last ditch” action after negotiations delivered “no progress”.
Conductors union RMT also claims managers are “not listening” to their member’s message on pay.
Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite has been left with no choice but to resolutely respond to the reckless behaviour displayed by Abellio Scotrail management. While discussions have continued these talks have produced absolutely nothing.”
— Unite Scotland (@UniteScotland) October 4, 2021
Unions have highlighted a recent 4.8% pay increase for staff at state-owned ferry company CalMac.
Workers are also angry at the plan to cut 300 daily trains across Scotland when compared to pre-pandemic levels of service.
What happens now?
Unions and managers are continuing discussions.
Scottish Government transport minister Graeme Dey has said ScotRail managers are preparing an updated offer on pay.
Unite has called for the Scottish Government to intervene further. They have promised an “escalation” in strike action if this does not happen.
ScotRail managers have stressed the “unsustainable” scale of the financial crisis facing the country’s railways.
They say the Scottish Government has made it clear that there is no money for a pay increase.
Workers must identify savings to fund any pay increase, according to managers.
Mr Dey maintains the Scottish Government has been “actively encouraging” an “appropriate” outcome to the dispute throughout.