Train passengers across Scotland face serious problems due to strike

Passengers are facing serious problems on Scottish Railways as thousands of workers strike again in bitter conflict over jobs, wages and conditions.

Union Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) industry members’ industrial action at Network Rail began on Wednesday morning, with only five flights operating across the country.

Key routes between Glasgow and Edinburgh have a limited number of trains; Edinburgh and Bathgate; Glasgow and Hamilton/Larkhall; and Glasgow and Lanark.

Pickets are set up outside railway stations across Scotland, including at Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley, as well as depots.

A protest is planned outside Network Rail’s head office in Glasgow.

ScotRail urged passengers to check their rides before traveling and only do so if necessary.

Train traffic is expected to be shut down on Thursday morning as well, with a later start when staff return to duty.

The Scottish Minister for Transport said the UK government needed to “bring in the political will” to resolve disputes in the rail network, but she insisted there was a difference between the current strikes and the actions taken by ScotRail staff in the past few weeks.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, Jenny Gilruth said it was “vital” for all parties to work together to find a solution.

But she said the Department for Transport’s stance – that UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps is not in charge of handling the problem on his own – is “interesting”.

Ms Gilruth said: “You will remember that members of the opposition, including members of the Conservative Party, repeatedly called on me to get directly involved in the dispute we had in Scotland.

“I think it’s important to make a distinction between the dispute in Scotland, which was resolved, and the fact that we have restored the full schedule in Scotland.

“It was done in a friendly and respectful manner on both sides, and what we have seen in the UK-wide dispute seems to be a very different approach within the UK government. with some belligerence from the UK government.

“Now it is vital that Grant Shapps instruct Network Rail and the railroad companies to return to the negotiating table with the unions, which I did with ScotRail in the last dispute, so that we can come to this decision. restore full service and avoid further strikes.”

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Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said her UK government counterpart Grant Shapps should “instruct Network Rail and rail companies to return to the negotiating table” (PA)

Members of the Transport Workers’ Association (TSSA) in Avanti West Coast are also on strike on Wednesday, which will affect traffic between Glasgow and London, while Aslef drivers’ union members from eight companies will leave on Saturday.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said union members are more determined than ever to achieve decent wage increases, job security and good working conditions.

He said: “Network Rail has not improved on its previous payment proposal and the rail companies have not offered us anything new.

“In fact, Network Rail has upped the ante by threatening forced layoffs and unsafe 50% reductions in maintenance work unless we cancel the planned strike.

“The train operating companies have put driver-only operations on the table and have also looked into the conditions of our members.

“RMT will continue to negotiate in good faith, but no one will intimidate or persuade us.

“The government should stop interfering in this dispute so that the railroad employers can come to an agreement with us through negotiations.”

Andrew Haynes, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Despite our best efforts to find a breakthrough, I fear that passengers will face new challenges this week as RMT appears to be stubbornly continuing its political campaign rather than compromising and negotiating deals for its members.

“I can only apologize for the impact this senseless strike has had on passengers, especially those traveling on holiday or attending events such as the Women’s Euro 2022 Semi-Final (Wednesday) and the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony (Thursday).

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RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said railroad workers are “more determined than ever” to get a fair deal (Pennsylvania)

“It’s very disappointing to ask our passengers again to change their plans and take only necessary trips.

“Only about half of the UK rail network will be open on Wednesday, with a very limited number of services only operating from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm.

“Passengers who must travel are strongly advised to plan ahead so they can complete their journeys within this window, for example the last flights from London to Scotland depart early in the afternoon.”

Strikes were held in June and more are planned for next month, but there is little sign of a way out of the deadlocked dispute.

RMT and TSSA members will go on strike on August 18 and 20, and the coordinated action should cause travel chaos.