ScotRail warns of disruption ahead of latest rail strikes

ScotRail has warned passengers to expect massive disruption during the latest round of RMT strikes.

Although the dispute does not directly involve ScotRail staff, it will impact the operator’s ability to run its trains on the network.

Network Rail union members rejected the latest wage offer on Monday.

The action is scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday across the UK network.

Many Network Rail staff who are due to take part in the planned industrial action are in safety-critical positions, meaning the vast majority of ScotRail services will be affected.

Due to the walkouts, a limited number of services on the public rail operator will operate, with disruption still felt on Thursday due to problems with signal boxes created by the strikes.

The rail operator will run services on 12 routes across the Central Belt, Fife and the Borders between 07:30 and 18:30.

Travelers were urged to check before leaving.

ScotRail services are about to be discontinued (Danny Lawson/PA)

ScotRail’s director of service delivery, David Simpson, said: ‘It is truly disappointing to see more widespread disruption across the whole of the UK rail network following the dispute between Network Rail and the RMT at a time when we need to encourage more people to come back. railway.

“For ScotRail this means that we will not be able to operate the vast majority of our services between December 13 and 17, which we know will be really frustrating for our customers.

“We advise customers to look for alternative means of transport and to travel only if they really need it on strike days.

“Customers should check their trip in advance to ensure your train is running.”

The RMT has also announced strike plans for December 24-27, as well as four dates in the first week of January.

Gordon Martin, RMT’s organizer for Scotland, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland program that Network Rail members found the latest wage offer “completely unacceptable”.

He said: “There is a whole package of reductions involved in this wage offer. So 9% over two years when we currently have inflation above 14% but on top of that what Network Rail is offering is a whole package of cuts to terms and conditions, jobs and the maintenance scheme .

“They are talking about reducing the maintenance regime by at least 43%, and our concern is that if they get away with it, it could put trains on embankments and kill people because you cannot reduce the maintenance regime. savagely and that there will be no consequences, so this is – given all of the cuts – this is completely unacceptable to our members.

Asked if they were close to resolving the issue, Mr Martin said: ‘I guess we are closer than we were this summer when the UK government refused to even get involved. involve despite the fact that he was a driver in the back, so to speak.

“At least now the UK government at transport secretary level has gotten involved, but they don’t seem to have the seriousness to go to the Treasury and number 10 and say you can’t run a railway with a set of cuts, so it needs proper investments in people, proper investments in infrastructure to solve this problem.

Later in the show, Nick King of Network Rail Scotland said the union was “disappointed” at the rejection.

In response to Mr Martin’s concerns about maintenance cuts, he said the plan was to “modernise the industry”.

He added: “What we want to do is make our maintenance regime more responsive and reactive and make us more able to react and anticipate problems.

“We are certainly not going to do anything that could compromise security.”

On Monday, Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth urged the British government to intervene and avoid strikes.

“While this is not an issue the Scottish Government has a locus on, I would urge the Secretary of State for Transport to take a different approach and work with unions to ensure a railway that benefits users, to staff and taxpayers,” she said. .

“In Scotland, we have maintained constructive exchanges between ScotRail and the Scottish representatives of the RMT members. In doing so, we settled our salary negotiations.

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