Rail pay dispute will spread across Scotland

A pay dispute involving train drivers will spread across Scotland’s public sector, a trade union chief has warned.

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser for Aslef, said train drivers were likely to launch industrial action due to a “derisory” pay offer from ScotRail.

The rail firm has slashed 600 services and introduced an emergency timetable after four unions rejected a deal last week.

ScotRail has apologised to customers and said it is “fully committed” to further talks with unions.

Mr Lindsay told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that Aslef train drivers had rejected an offer of a 2% pay rise backdated to 1 April, with a further 1% increase from 1 January.

Drivers have subsequently decided not to work on their days off, with Mr Lindsay claiming ScotRail relied on the “goodwill” of its staff to run the service at full capacity.

He said that following a consultation with the union’s national executive, workers were likely to be balloted on industrial action.

“It’s not just going to be Aslef that are going to be balloting – RMT, Unite, TSSA union going to ballot as well,” Mr Lindsay said.

“This is going to spread right across the whole of the public sector in Scotland until the Scottish government get real.”

The Aslef organiser said First Minister John Swinney had set out the government’s pay policy in a meeting with 18 unions at his official residence, Bute House. He claimed Mr Swinney’s comments were “parroted” by ScotRail.

“It’s a fait acompli, a take it or leave it, and our members have told me they’re leaving it,” he said.

“There has been no negotiation so I can understand the frustration of Scotland’s train drivers.”

Unite, RMT and TSSA rejected the pay increase tabled by ScotRail on Friday.

ScotRail’s service delivery director, Mark Ilderton, urged passengers to check their journeys before setting off.

The publicly-owned operator said about 1,660 trains would operate between Mondays and Saturdays under the provisional measures.

It warned that peak-time services in the morning and late afternoon would have their frequency halved from four trains per hour to two.

“We are very sorry to customers for the disruption to services,” Mr Ilderton said.

“We are operating services which the vast majority of customers use and are still using all the available trains in our fleet so customers can continue to travel.

“We want to resolve the pay dispute with the trade unions and remain fully committed to further discussions.”

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