Christmas rail strikes called off after agreement between ScotRail and union leaders
RAIL strikes which threatened to cause chaos for thousands of travellers in the run-up to Christmas have been called off following an agreement between ScotRail and union leaders.
The Rail and Maritime (RMT) union last night cancelled its action planned for Saturday and Christmas Eve after reaching a “satisfactory agreement” with the train operator.
The union had been accused by ScotRail of being “cynical in the extreme” after choosing the days leading up to Christmas to strike in support of sacked ticket inspector Scott Lewis.
Last night, neither side would confirm the exact details of the agreement which had averted the industrial action, but the RMT said both its national executive and Mr Lewis had found the deal “acceptable”. ScotRail refused to confirm or deny whether Mr Lewis had been given any form of compensation payment. Mr Lewis has not been given his job back.
Sources had suggested the choice of dates for the strike had “alienated” members of the RMT, with many resigning from the union in protest.
However, Mick Hogg, the RMT’s Scotland regional organiser, said staff had been determined to strike in support of Mr Lewis.
“RMT members voted with their feet – it was absolutely crystal clear that members were up for strike action,” he said.
“The whole idea of choosing those dates was to get ScotRail back to the negotiating table. We have a proposal that’s acceptable to our national executive and to Scott Lewis.”
The dispute arose after traveller Luke Addis, 24, wrote a letter of complaint to ScotRail about his treatment by Mr Lewis, 40. Mr Lewis was dismissed by the company over his “unacceptable” behaviour.
The RMT had insisted on Mr Lewis’s reinstatement, saying he was adhering to ScotRail’s procedures.
Union officials said Mr Lewis had been “victimised and sacked for trying to help a passenger within the written procedures in what is a travesty of justice”.
Following yesterday’s agreement, ScotRail said services would now run as normal over the Christmas period.
A spokesman said: “We are delighted that common sense has prevailed and the threat of industrial action has been lifted.
“It is the right decision. Our customers can look forward to normal services over Christmas and to travel to be with family and friends.”
While confirming that Mr Lewis had not been reinstated, when asked whether he had received any form of compensation payment, the spokesman said the agreement was “confidential”.
Transport minister Keith Brown said news that the strike had been called off came as a great relief.
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