ScotRail cancellations threat from six weeks of Sunday strikes at Glasgow Central

Passengers at Scotland’s busiest station face potential disruption after ScotRail conductors were today called out on strike over six Sundays from 29 November.

Sunday trains on several lines from Glasgow Central could be cancelled. Picture: SNS Group
Sunday trains on several lines from Glasgow Central could be cancelled. Picture: SNS Group

The action by the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) would affect diesel trains operated by conductors, including on lines to East Kilbride, Kilmarnock, Dumfries and Stranraer.

It follows a strike ballot over disciplinary action taken against a conductor, who the union said had made a “mistake on duty”.

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The threat of disruption could hamper ScotRail’s attempts to increase much depleted passenger numbers, which are still 80 per cent below normal.

RMT regional organiser Mick Hogg said it was fully behind the disciplined conductor. Picture: James Chapelard/RMT

That would help offset the hundreds of millions of pounds of extra Scottish Government support that has been required to keep it operating during the pandemic.

The strikes come on top of a separate industrial action ballot among all RMT members at ScotRail over not getting a pay rise this year, unlike train drivers.

In a third dispute, the union today announced further strike dates at Caledonian Sleeper over rest areas for staff on board.

Sleeper staff will walk out again from 24-26 January in addition to the previously-announced 22-24 December and 3-5 January stoppages.

The ScotRail conductor strikes at Glasgow Central will be Sundays 29 November, 6, 13, 20 and 27 December and 3 January.

But the action should not affect the electric trains which serve all the operator’s other routes from the station.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “I urge our affected members to stand united and support the forthcoming days of industrial action to send a clear message to management that we will not tolerate these continued attacks on the conductor grade and to bring an immediate stop to the punitive disciplinary action against our members.

“Nobody goes to work with the intention of making mistakes.

"Should a mistake occur, management’s first actions should be corrective and supportive action under the competence development programme.

"The company should not be immediately moving onto punitive measures.

"The conductor should be reinstated to his substantive grade immediately.

"The company has treated him appallingly.”

ScotRail said there would be “minimal” impact on passengers if the action went ahead, but admitted it might need to cancel some trains.

Operations director David Simpson said: “It is very disappointing the RMT has organised a strike during a national crisis, when we are all working hard to provide a critical service for the country.

“ScotRail values each and every member of staff and we have regular engagement with the RMT, and the other trade unions, to ensure they have the best possible environment to do their job.

“It is particularly disappointing the action is being taken when the disciplinary process hasn’t been completed yet, which goes against the spirit of our efforts to engage positively with the RMT.”

The results of the union’s strike ballot over pay are due early next month.

Its industrial action at Caledonian Sleeper has involved two 48-hour strikes so far which have forced the cancellation of several of the Serco-operated overnight trains between Scotland and London last month.

The dispute centres on the RMT’s call for staff to use cabins for rest breaks.

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