ScotRail disruption set to end after train drivers accept pay offer as LNER action looms

Weeks of rail disruption are set to come to an end after ScotRail drivers voted to accept a five per cent pay boost, but a fresh strike hitting cross-border trains is now looming.

The Aslef drivers’ union said its ScotRail members had agreed to an improved pay deal after rejecting a previous offer in May.

It means weeks of rail misery caused by the introduction of a temporary timetable could finally come to an end next week, with a full timetable returning within 10 days.

But the news came on the same day that Aslef announced drivers at eight other train companies had voted overwhelmingly to take strike action. The companies include LNER potentially hitting east coast services from London to Scotland.

Picture: John Devlin

Following the ending of the ScotRail dispute, Kevin Lindsay, Aslef’s Scottish organiser, said: “Aslef members have voted to accept the proposals on pay and conditions.

“Aslef is a democratic, lay, member-led union, and I want to thank our members for their engagement and response to the ballot.”

Some 700 services were slashed from timetables on May 23 after Aslef members refused to work overtime and rest days.

The move caused widespread disruption, with fans going to Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Hampden Park in June told they had to leave the national team’s most important match in 20 years early if they wanted to catch the last service from Mount Florida, its nearest station.

Thousands of golf fans were also urged to avoid the railways by organisers of The Open in St Andrews.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director of championships at The R&A, said there was “a risk that fans who travel by train may find there are no services to get them home”.

And festivalgoers wanting to watch Lewis Capaldi headline Trnsmt on Sunday were told by the firm if they waited until the end of his set they would not be able to catch the train home.

The latest pay offer will see drivers’ pay climb by five per cent.

They will also get more money for rest day and Sunday working, driving instructor and maternity pay along with a policy of no compulsory redundancies for the next five years.

According to ScotRail, 2.2 per cent of the increase will be funded by Transport Scotland with the remaining 2.8 per cent coming from ScotRail’s coffers. The firm previously warned passengers its temporary timetable could be in place for up to 10 days if drivers accepted the offer.

Yesterday it emerged Aslef members at Chiltern, LNER, Northern, TransPennine Express, Arriva Rail London, Great Western, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains voted by around 9-1 in favour of strikes on turnouts of more than 80 per cent.

A UK Department for Transport spokesperson said: “It is very disappointing that, rather than commit to serious dialogue with the industry, Aslef are first seeking to cause further misery to passengers by joining others in disrupting the rail network.

“The train drivers they represent earn, on average, just under £60,000 per year – more than twice the UK median salary and significantly more than the very workers who will be most impacted by these strikes.”

The union is not naming dates for any industrial action, but will now consider the next steps with workplace reps.

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