Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth and RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch have agreed to work together to urge the UK Government to find solutions to the Network Rail pay dispute and avoid strike action in the run up to Christmas.
They met at Scotland House in London with the prospect of successive weekends of strike action and a work to rule approach planned throughout December by the RMT. Though the pay dispute is at UK level, Scottish railways and passengers will be impacted by the proposed action
In addition to discussing the dispute, Ms Gilruth reiterated her opposition to the Minimum Service Level Bill and discussed the importance of embedding a just transition and using local labour in the programme of decarbonisation works across the rail network.
After the meeting, Ms Gilruth said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Mr Lynch and discuss our shared desire for a resolution to the pay dispute between the RMT and Network Rail and the UK Government controlled train companies.
“ScotRail members have of course voted to accept a negotiated fair pay offer, calling an end to their own industrial action, but Scotland still faces severe disruption as a result of the ongoing UK-wide dispute.
“It is vital that the UK Government allows the operators and RMT to get to the table and negotiate. I was extremely disappointed not to be able to meet the Secretary of State for Transport during my time in London. I had very much hoped to discuss with him the damaging impacts of disruption to passenger and freight services over the festive period.
“Network Rail employees and employees of the UK Government controlled rail companies in Scotland deserve a fair pay deal too.”
Mick Lynch said: “I had a very positive meeting with the Scottish Transport Minister, and it is to be welcomed that she is playing such an active role in providing assistance to resolve this UK wide dispute.
“Indeed, in Scotland and Wales, RMT has made settlements with the support of their respective governments but where companies are controlled by the UK government all we have seen is confrontation and chaos.
“I would urge the UK government to adopt the same pragmatic and constructive approach we have seen in Scotland and Wales so we can resolve this dispute and deliver a fair deal for passengers and workers.”
Photo credit: Scottish Transport