Six days of strikes at ScotRail announced

Picture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin
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Conductors at ScotRail will strike for six days over the next month at plans to downgrade their role, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) announced today.

The first stoppage will take place a week today and others will include a two-day weekend walkout.

The strikes will take place on Tuesday, 21 June, Thursday, 23 June, Saturday-Sunday 25-26 June, and Sundays 3, 10 and 17 July.

The RMT said they would go ahead if talks arranged for tomorrow at the conciliation service Acas fail.

The dates include the EU referendum on 23 June, and the last day of the Open Golf championship at Troon on 17 July.

ScotRail was able to run nine in ten trains during previous conductors’ strikes six years ago over a similar issue.

News of the action comes a week after conductors voted by three to one for stoppages.

The ballot result also showed a majority of ScotRail’s 550 conductors supported action.

Talks between ScotRail and union officials last Friday ended without agreement.

ScotRail is drafting in staff from other train operators to cover during a strike, who the RMT has called a “scab army”.

The dispute is over plans to change conductors’ duties aboard a new fleet of electric trains being introduced across the Central Belt from next year.

BACKGROUND ScotRail door control not an open-shut issue

Drivers would take over control of doors and passenger safety.

Conductors would be left to check tickets, but lower-paid ticket examiners would perform that role on some services.

ScotRail sent proposals for the changes in a letter to staff but has not presented them formally to the RMT.

It said it had now withdrawn the letter, but the RMT said it was clear the firm still intended to go ahead with the plans, to save money.

The RMT said: ”Since the ballot result was declared, there has been no further progress with the company and the union has had no option but to confirm the programme of industrial action.”

General secretary Mick Cash said: “It is extraordinary that ScotRail continue to ignore the strength of feeling amongst their staff over the extension of DOO [driver-only operation] and that they are still trying to by-pass the normal negotiating machinery.

“That disgraceful and cavalier approach to jobs and safety on Scotland’s railways now leaves us with no choice but to move to a campaign of industrial action.”

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “We believe the solution to this dispute lies in talks, not strikes.

“We’re look forward to getting round the table again for continued talks with Acas and RMT on 15 June.”

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