Rail strikes to cause weekend disruption but talks in prospect

Disruption for ScotRail passengers is set to continue over the weekend. Picture: TSPL
Disruption for ScotRail passengers is set to continue over the weekend. Picture: TSPL
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Passengers face a weekend of more rail disruption with
conductors at ScotRail
expected to walk out again tomorrow and on Sunday.

However, the firm has offered further talks with the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Monday.

It follows stoppages
yesterday and on Tuesday involving 550 staff that forced the cancellation of around one in four trains.

The M8, M9, M90 and Forth Road Bridge were busier than normal yesterday due to the strike action and because of the start of the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

No trains ran on 11 lines, including North Berwick to Edinburgh, with those on many outside Strathclyde operating on reduced
frequencies and only from 7am-7pm.

ScotRail said it expected
similar disruption tomorrow, but it will not confirm details of which trains will run on Sunday until at least today.

A spokeswoman said: “The key thing to remember is to check – and keep checking - our website for updates.”

The dispute is over downgrading conductors’ roles on a new fleet of trains due to run on Central Belt routes from next year, including the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line.

ScotRail wants drivers to take over door control from conductors, who would be replaced by lower-paid ticket examiners on some services.

The company has offered to meet the RMT on
Monday to firm up pledges to guarantee conductors’ jobs, including on a fleet of refurbished trains due to operate inter-city routes from 2018.

Union general
secretary Mick Cash said it would meet at the
conciliation service Acas, but he accused ScotRail of “divide and rule” by
opening negotiations about another train fleet.

He said: “After months of playing games, this latest stunt from ScotRail now attempts to split the staff involved in this dispute into separate groups.”

However, ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster said: “By entering into these discussions to enable us to reach a swift agreement on this proposal would be a very positive step towards giving certainty to our conductors.”