STRIKES across Scotland’s rail network are set to go ahead over the Christmas period after talks between train operators and trade union officials broke down yesterday.
Operator ScotRail and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) met yesterday morning, but failed to agree a resolution to their ongoing dispute.
That means RMT members at the firm are due to strike on 22 December and Christmas Eve.
The action is in protest at the dismissal of ticket inspector Scott Lewis after a widely publicised incident over the type of ticket used by a member of the public.
ScotRail claimed the industrial action is a “clear attack” on the travelling public at Christmas.
RMT members on the firm’s sleeper services will also strike for 24 hours from the evening of 21 December and again from the evening of 23 December.
A ScotRail spokesman said: “It is extremely disappointing that the talks failed to reach a solution. The RMT wanted the former ticket examiner to be reinstated.”
Contingency plans aim to keep any impact on travellers to a minimum, the spokesman said. Outlying areas are expected to be affected to a greater extent than the Central Belt, the firm suggested last week.
“There is no doubt that the majority of our services will run,” he continued. “As always, we are available for further meaningful talks at any time.”
RMT members voted last month by 2-1 in favour of industrial action, while the dispute has remained deadlocked.
The union said Lewis was trying to make sure the passenger had the correct ticket and was dismissed for making “unwanted contact” with the man.
General secretary Bob Crow called for his immediate reinstatement.
“Scott Lewis has been victimised and sacked for trying to help a passenger within the written procedures set out in ScotRail’s own policies in what is an absolute travesty of justice,” he said.
After the talks, Crow added: “RMT arrived at the talks today only to find that ScotRail were not prepared to discuss the issue at the heart of the dispute and that’s the dismissal and reinstatement of Scott Lewis.
“We have been led up the garden path by the company who had no intention of entering into meaningful discussions and, as a result of ScotRail’s actions, the strike remains on.”