BRITAIN’s largest transport union has fired the first shot over working conditions during next year’s Commonwealth Games by calling for extra payments for thousands of rail workers who will be on duty.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union has urged Network Rail and other rail companies to agree to “recognition and reward” payments for staff, even though plans for how services will be affected around the 11 days of competition have yet to be revealed.
Details of how timetables will be expanded are unlikely to emerge until the new year, but with up to 180,000 people expected to attend sporting and cultural events across the city each day during Glasgow 2014, authorities are facing a vast infrastructure challenge.
With tickets to Games sessions including free public transport, organisers of the event hope to discourage people from driving with extensive parking restrictions around sporting venues, putting pressure on the city’s rail and bus networks.
Pre-empting the issue, the RMT yesterday said it will be looking for similar deals to ones it struck for last year’s Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in London, when workers were paid hundreds of pounds in bonuses.
RMT officials said they would be seeking flat-rate rises for all grades of rail workers in Scotland and those with companies whose services cross the Border with England.
General secretary Bob Crow said: “With the countdown now well and truly on for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it is important that we reach early agreements for all those transport staff, across all grades, who will carry the additional workload that will be generated both in the run-up to and during the events.
“There will once again be a huge transport challenge and RMT is seeking fair and adequate financial compensation across the board, on a flat-rate basis, for all of those staff involved in delivering the increased transport demands.”
It remains uncertain how train operators will need to revamp services in the run-up to and during the Games.
Although a huge number of athletes, officials and spectators will be descending on Glasgow next summer, the event coincides with the school holidays – when the rail network is quieter.
ScotRail’s plans for the Games will be finalised in early 2014. It aims to meet the demand from visiting spectators while minimising the impact on regular customers. The firm said it could face a “significant cost” in delivering an expanded timetable during the Games.
A spokesman said: “Together with our partners, we are making good progress in our preparations for Glasgow 2014. We are focused upon providing a smooth travel experience within Glasgow as well as further afield, and look forward to helping thousands of sports fans from Scotland and across the world enjoy this exciting event.
“We will discuss these proposals with the RMT this month.”
A spokesman for Aslef, the train drivers’ union, said it intends to meet ScotRail this month to discuss its plans.
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said it was liaising with Glasgow 2014 organisers and ScotRail to determine any “potential funding shortfall” as a consequence of laying on extra services and carriages during the Games.