Rail strikes are bad for the economy so solving disputes quickly is essential – Scotsman comment
Across Scotland as a whole, footfall was down by 15.8 per cent in June, compared to the same month before the pandemic, considerably more than the average reduction of 10.5 per cent for the whole of the UK. Glasgow was down 12.2 per cent, with Edinburgh 9.6 per cent lower than in June 2019.
The cost-of-living crisis will be having an effect as high energy bills and food prices reduce people’s disposable income. But it stands to reason that if it becomes difficult to travel to city centres, fewer people will go, with businesses and the economy in general suffering as a result.
And that makes resolving disputes quickly not just an issue for the rail companies and the unions, but for both the Scottish and UK governments.
When negotiations hit an impasse and rail services are seriously affected by industrial action, it becomes a political issue and politicians have no choice but to get involved.
Both employers and unions need to be reasonable, but in any argument – particularly those concerning the livelihoods of thousands of people during tough times – things can get heated.
With some disputes continuing, political leaders should at least be talking to both sides to help find an acceptable compromise.
The rail network is of national importance, so our nation’s governments should never pretend to be spectators.
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