ScotRail drivers call for strike ballot over pay

Central Station Glasgow. 10 hours after their meeting with Scotrail Management began, Phil McGarry of RMT (left) and Kevin Lindsay of ASLEF speak to assembled Media at Platform 1.

Central Station Glasgow. 10 hours after their meeting with Scotrail Management began, Phil McGarry of RMT (left) and Kevin Lindsay of ASLEF speak to assembled Media at Platform 1.

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TRAIN drivers at ScotRail have called for a strike ballot after rejecting a 2.5 per cent pay offer.

The Scottish leader of the Aslef union, which represents most of the company’s 1,200 drivers, has asked its executive to approve a vote on industrial action.

We must fight for rise we are entitled to

Kevin Lindsay

It said drivers were also planning an unofficial work-to-rule on Sundays, which could lead to hundreds of trains being cancelled.

The union’s Scottish district secretary, Kevin Lindsay, said ScotRail, which was taken over by Dutch firm Abellio in April, had increased its original offer from a “derisory” 1.1 per cent but tied it to productivity improvements.

These include Sundays becoming part of the working week rather than being covered by drivers doing overtime.

Mr Lindsay said: “I’m disappointed but not surprised by Abellio’s behaviour. They appear to have little respect for drivers and even less respect for Scotland’s railways.

“As such, I believe that as a union we must stand up to this behaviour and fight for the rise that we are entitled too.”

He said a proposal for drivers instead of conductors to operate doors on more trains had been rejected “out of hand”.

He said the change would threaten 150 conductors’ jobs if implemented on electric trains due to start running on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line from the end of next year.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, which represents some ScotRail drivers, also rejected the pay offer as “completely unacceptable.”

A spokeswoman for the ScotRail Alliance, which includes track owner Network Rail, said: “During our latest round of discussions, we made what we felt was a fair offer that would see drivers receive an above-inflation pay rise and a bonus payment for working Sundays.

“We think it important that, as part of this deal, we work together with the unions to find ways to make sure our working practices deliver more for our customers.

“We are, of course, more than happy to continue discussions.”

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