Train station chiefs 'forced to beg for toilet roll and bin bags amid ScotRail cutbacks'

Staff claim ScotRail has slapped restrictions on orders which are not being approved by the company, leaving the public toilets with no loo roll.
Staff claim ScotRail has slapped restrictions on orders which are not being approved by the company, leaving the public toilets with no loo roll.
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Train station chiefs are being forced to 'beg' for toilet roll and bin bags amid ScotRail cutbacks, it has been claimed.

Staff claim ScotRail has slapped restrictions on orders which are not being approved by the company, leaving the public toilets with no loo roll.

A series of emails and internal messages sent over the past 11 days show staff at stations across Scotland asking one another for supplies, according to The Herald.

It comes just a month after the RMT union claimed ScotRail chiefs had decided to cut back on toilet paper and soap on trains to reduce costs.

On November 6 one email, sent to all North Clyde stations said: "Hi guys. I know it's a long shot but does anyone have any spare toilet tissues they could send to Milngavie?"

Some booking offices and stations have even begun joking about the situation.

In one message, a booking officer asked: "Anybody got any paper?"

Another replied: "Trade you for Sellotape."

Another interjected: "I'll trade you a blue pen, a red pen and a bottle of Tippex."

An internal message sent by a ticket inspector on October 28 asked why there were no hand towels, soap and toilet paper in most of the rest areas for staff in and around Glasgow.

A member of staff in a Glasgow station booking office responded: "In order to save the company money...stations never got a stores order last month."

The ticket inspector emailed back to say: "That is a disgrace, surely we have the right to basic hygiene products whilst at work."

An email from a station in West Dunbartonshire to other stations in the North Clyde area, sent on October 27, also made an urgent request for help.

It read: "Sorry folks but again I need to ask if anyone has any spare toilet rolls or hand towels they could possibly send to us as due to stores delivery running late we are on the verge of running out which as you know is a main bothy [stop-off] for drivers and ticket examiners.

"Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated."

One long-serving train station service officer said the requests were "no joke" and that he believed they were the result of the restriction on stores being issued.

He said: "These are serious requests.

"It is getting ridiculously embarrassing.

"What happens is this, we request our toilet tissue, pens, printer paper, etcetera, from a stores manager - that requisition, if approved, is then sent to fulfil the order.

"Stations are not getting the stores requested because the orders are not being approved so the requisition is not forwarded for fulfilment.

"It is down to ScotRail."

RMT union's regional organiser, Mick Hogg, said he would take the matter up with ScotRail management.

Mr Hogg said they were aware of supply shortages but there had since been an agreement that this would be addressed and there would be "no repeat".

He said: "This is why I am disappointed if it is still the case.

"It is not acceptable with a big company like ScotRail."

A message, seen by The Herald, circulated to stations and booking offices in the north of Glasgow in August spelt out the restrictions.

The message said: "As you are all aware we are trying to save money across the company, stores order is the focus of this at the moment.

"I know a lot of stations have recently submitted new stores order, however, can you now please resubmit these orders and reduce in half from initial order.

"We need to be more economical with our supplies, I know this is going to mean certain stations will then be short of certain items.

"Where this is the case, please contact neighbouring stations and utilise what stock they have.

"I can't emphasise enough the need to be working together around this, I know it will be challenging.

"No one station owns any supplies, the whole Glasgow North area must work collaboratively."

ScotRail said essential items such as toilet rolls and cleaning products would "remain a priority" and that no part of the company was expected to function without them.

A ScotRail spokesman said: "ScotRail values each and every member of staff and we are absolutely committed to ensuring they have the best possible working environment.

"Like any business, we are always looking to improve efficiency.

"All of our stations have supplies and we are working hard to ensure that we get the right balance of provisions across the country."