Strikes trains Scotland: RMT threatens dispute with ScotRail over who controls trains on Glasgow-Barrhead route
The Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has vowed to fight plans for trains on the Glasgow Central to Barrhead route to be switched to driver-only operation.
Conductors who control doors on the diesel trains on the line are expected to be replaced with lower-grade ticket examiners when electric trains start operating next month.
This is in line with some previous new electric services, such as the extension of the Glasgow Queen Street to Drumgelloch line east to Airdrie to form a new route to Edinburgh in 2010, which the RMT failed to stop despite a series of strikes. Most ScotRail suburban trains in Glasgow are electric and controlled by drivers.
However, the operator shelved plans to extend it to other new electric routes such as the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line after a series of RMT strikes in 2016.
RMT Scotland organiser Mick Hogg told The Scotsman: “We met ScotRail last week. ScotRail made its position clear that when Barrhead goes live, they intend to extend driver-only operation not only to the line, but also East Kilbride in 2028 and Kilmarnock in 2032 when electrified.
“If ScotRail wants a fight, this is it. RMT policy is for no further extension of driver-only operation.
"This is a further attack on the role of the guard [conductor] and has all the hallmarks of the 2016 dispute where RMT conducted 11 days of solid strike action. We won and the transport minister at the time [Humza Yousaf, now First Minister] intervened and instructed ScotRail to settle.
"We have asked for ScotRail’s proposals in writing, which they have still not given us. However, the intention is there and we are ready for the pending fight.
“The RMT intends to keep the guard on the train as this dispute is all about safety. ScotRail says it's all about the most efficient way to run our railway. [It is] playing with words. Profit before safety. No chance.”
A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We’ve had no notification of a dispute.”
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