THE RMT has begun balloting nearly 2,500 ScotRail staff for strike action and action short of a strike as a pay dispute hardens. ScotRail has condemned the ballot as ‘wrong’.
The debate has been fuelled by a pay rise which has been awarded to drivers. The RMT has described this award as ‘inflation busting’.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ’After a long period of talks aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement on Scotrail pay RMT reps are angry and frustrated that the company have failed to recognise the value of all its staff across the workforce who work equally hard on the front line during these dangerous times.
‘RMT is looking for a decent and responsible offer to settle this dispute and the union remains available for talks.’
ScotRail responded by pointing out that passenger numbers remain 80 per cent down, compared with a year earlier, because of lockdown restrictions. At the height of the first lockdown earlier this year, passenger numbers and revenue dropped by 95 per cent.
ScotRail chief operating officer Alex White said: ‘The RMT’s push for industrial action at a time of national crisis is wrong.
‘ScotRail is proud to provide well-paid and highly skilled jobs for more than 5,200 people. While other transport operators across the country have cut thousands of jobs, not a single member of ScotRail’s permanent staff has lost their job, been placed on furlough, or had any cuts to base salaries. This is thanks to the emergency funding we have secured from the Scottish Government.
‘Passengers and taxpayers will not have much sympathy for any RMT-led strike action which stops doctors, nurses, care workers, and the other heroes of the pandemic from getting to their work.’
The ballot started today and will continue until 8 December.