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PRIVATEER bosses of Scotland’s rail industry are hurtling towards a crisis as unions warned of strike action if last ditch pay talks fail to produce a decent wage increase.
Unite has warned that services will be “brought to a standstill” if Abellio Scotrail bosses fail to make a “serious offer” in negotiations scheduled for Wednesday.
Rail union RMT has also vowed to take action during COP26 to “secure pay justice” if talks break down.
The union’s general secretary Mick Lynch said that he expects “serious movement over the attempt to impose a de facto pay cut on rail workers.”
Abellio, which is owned by the Dutch state-owned rail operator, has agreed to talks only after pressure from MSPs, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Transport Minister Graeme Day.
Unite has warned that continuous industrial action short of a strike involving its engineering members will begin on Friday, September 24, if no progress is made in the talks.
The union represents around 250 engineers who provide safety critical maintenance, overhaul and repair services for the railway.
Unite has revealed the deplorable state of Scotland’s rail services, with passenger numbers down by 90 per cent, workers constantly called in to work on their rest days at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to taxpayers and passengers, and a state of “disorganised chaos and understaffing.”
The pay dispute adds to Scotrail’s likely slashing of 300 services, causing four rail unions — Aslef, RMT, Unite and TSSA — to call for intervention by the Scottish government.
Unite industrial officer Pat McIlvogue said: “We can’t emphasise enough the disorganised chaos which prevails at Abellio Scotrail.
“Due to mismanagement and staff shortages, engineers are being called back in on their rest days and overtime levels have increased costing around £1 million since 2020.”
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