Passengers hit by fresh disruption as rail strikes continue

ScotRail said 80 per cent of its Sunday services were running despite strike action. Picture: Michael Gillen
ScotRail said 80 per cent of its Sunday services were running despite strike action. Picture: Michael Gillen
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Rail passengers were hit by more travel disruption across Scotland yesterday after the RMT union held another one-day strike in its ongoing dispute with ScotRail.

The union said strike action was the only course of action left, following the breakdown of talks at the conciliation service Acas.

The dispute centres round the RMT’s claim that the increased use of trains without guards, where the driver opens and closes the doors at stations, is a safety issue.

However, ScotRail has denied there is a safety issue and said almost 60 per cent of passengers travel on trains with doors operated by the driver. It also promised to ensure a second member of staff was on board to help the driver in emergencies.

ScotRail said 80 per cent of its Sunday services were running despite strike action.

The action included cancelled services to Carnoustie where the 2016 Senior Open Golf Championship was in its final day. Reduced services operated on a number of routes, including from Edinburgh and Glasgow Central.

The operator also put on replacement bus services between a number of stations, though warned passengers that space was limited.

Cancelled services included those from Edinburgh to Dunbar, Aberdeen, Dyce and Inverurie; Glasgow Queen Street to Dunblane, Dundee, Carnoustie and Arbroath; Glasgow Central to Inverness and Glasgow Queen Street to Dunblane, Dundee, Carnoustie and Arbroath.

Protests were held outside several stations, including Dundee, where workers held up a banner saying “This strike is all about safety”.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “RMT members are solid, united and determined again today as they continue the fight for passenger and staff safety on ScotRail.

“Their resilience in the teeth of constant misinformation from the Dutch-owned Abellio/ScotRail is a credit to the whole trade union movement.

“It is disgraceful that the Scottish Government have not lifted a finger to intervene in a dispute that is about safety on Scotland’s railways.”

Last night a ScotRail spokesman said: “Today we ran 80 per cent of our normal Sunday services. While this is an increase on previous strike days, it still means that too many of our customers are facing disruption due to these totally unnecessary strikes.

“Fifty-nine per cent of people who use a train in Scotland do so on a service where the driver opens and closes the door, while a second member of staff looks after our customers. Regardless of what changes we might propose in the future, we will always schedule a second member of staff on board our trains.”

Scottish Labour had called on SNP transport minister Humza Yousaf to intervene. Mr Yousef said he had spoken to both sides and called for strike action to be halted while discussions took place.

More action is due on 31 July.