Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Jenny Gilruth: Union accusations of lies in ScotRail dispute ‘lack respect’

ScotRail introduced a reduced timetable on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA)
ScotRail introduced a reduced timetable on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA)

Accusations of lying from rail unions are not “particularly respectful”, the transport minister has said.

Jenny Gilruth appeared in front of Holyrood’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee on Tuesday, where she took questions on the row over reduced ScotRail services.

The train operator, which was nationalised in April, introduced a reduced timetable on Monday amid a pay dispute with train drivers union Aslef.

The row has led to drivers refusing to work overtime and on rest days, with ScotRail cutting more than 700 services across the country.

Committee member Monica Lennon said she welcomed the intention for the Scottish Government to have a good relationship with the trade unions, but highlighted press coverage on the RMT union accusing Ms Gilruth of lying.

The Scotsman newspaper reported that Mick Hogg, the Scottish regional organiser of the RMT, said Ms Gilruth was “telling lies” when stating she wants to see unions and ScotRail get round the table to negotiate.

“They also say that the buck stops with you, minister,” Ms Lennon said.

“How can we be sure that the lines of responsibility are clear, and how do we get to a place very quickly where trade unions, that I know you respect, have confidence in you?”

New Scotrail timetable
More than 700 services have been cut across Scotland due to a driver shortage (Jane Barlow/PA)

The transport minister replied: “I’ve got to say, in terms of the respectful tone between Government and trade unions, the use of that word, I don’t find particularly respectful.

“I don’t think it’s accurate either. I spent a lot of time, as you know, at the start of my appointment with our trade union partners to try and bring them into the conversation about the future of Scotland’s trains.”

She said she accepts responsibility as transport minister, but it would not be appropriate amid an industrial dispute for ministers to be part of negotiations.

Convener Dean Lockhart told Ms Gilruth that, in her words, the main reason for the nationalisation of ScotRail was to increase accountability to make sure ministers are held to account.

“Why aren’t Scottish ministers getting directly involved in this process to ensure we don’t see massive cuts to rail services in Scotland?” he asked.

“Two points, convener,” the transport minister replied.

“I don’t think that’s an accurate description of what’s been happening in recent days. On Friday, I spent a considerable amount of time with ScotRail, and yesterday I met with ScotRail, along with Mr (Bill) Reeve, to discuss some of the challenges around about the current situation.

“It’s not the case, though, that Scottish ministers are in the room.”

She added: “Drivers working on the rest days is a historic thing that exists in the rail industry. It’s not something that’s come into existence under nationalisation of our trains. It depends upon, primarily, goodwill of drivers.

“Aslef are in dispute with ScotRail. I totally respect that. They balloted their members on the pay offer.

“This is a separate issue, because drivers are choosing not to work on the rest days. Now, if drivers want to spend time with their families, or take part in leisure pursuits, then that’s in their gift, of course.

“But it’s also the case that ScotRail can’t run as many trains as would usually be the case under the previous timetable, which is why ScotRail took the decision – a difficult decision, I have to say – to reduce train allocation.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]