ScotRail has told RailAdvent that the RMT Union’s push for industrial action during the Coronavirus Pandemic is wrong.
Whilst ScotRail is providing job security for more than 5,200 staff, the operator says that RMT bosses are pushing for possible strike action over pay.
Passenger numbers remain at 80% less compared to last year due to lockdown restrictions, and at the height of lockdown earlier this year, revenue dropped by 95%.
However, the RMT Union balloting its members for a possible strike because there is no pay increase for 2020/2021.
ScotRail’s train cleaning team and conductors are part of the RMT Union, with average base salary for train cleaners being more than £27,000, with some earning more than £36,000. The average conductor earns more than £32,000.
Terms of the Emergency Measures Agreement with the Scottish Government means no staff have been placed on furlough or had any jobs cut/salaries changed.
Additionally, under the terms of the EMA, ScotRail can only begin talks with the union when authorised by Transport Scotland, and given the uncertainty over public finances, no authorisation has been granted.
Alex White, ScotRail Chief Operating Officer, 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 RMT says that they have just given an inflation-busting pay rise to drivers.
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.
“The ballot opens tomorrow and we are campaigning hard for a massive YES vote.
“RMT is looking for a decent and responsible offer to settle this dispute and the union remains available for talks.”
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