Scottish rail strike during climate conference called off
Strike action that threatened to cripple train services in Scotland during the UN Climate Conference has been called off after the RMT union agreed on a deal with ScotRail. This was announced on Wednesday evening following talks between the union and the rail operator.
The rail union, which represents conductors and ticket office workers in particular, reported that a one year 2.5 per cent wage increase backdated to 01 April 2021, improved conditions and an additional payment of 355 euros (300 pounds) for working during the climate summit had been agreed. The agreement also means an end to the Sunday strikes that have been going on since March.
Satisfied with wage agreement
Transport operator ScotRail is pleased with the agreement, which was reached just days before the start of the climate summit. Ian McConnell, Chief Operating Officer of ScotRail said, “We look forward to Scottish railways playing a part in delivering a successful COP26 next week.”
The Scottish Government reports it is ‘proud’ to be brokering and funding the deal. Michael Hogg of RMT Scotland said that for the first time in 8.5 months a normal train timetable was being operated.
The RMT union had so far not agreed to the Scottish Government’s proposals for a pay rise. Three other unions, including train drivers’ union Aslef, have accepted a pay deal of 4.7 per cent over two years, including a 300 pound bonus for working during the summit.
Scottish Transport Minister Graeme Dey earlier this week indicated he was not optimistic about averting a mass strike by rail staff during the Climate Change Conference.
The union had been given until 5pm on Wednesday to accept the same deal agreed by three other unions. RMT then announced that ScotRail had accepted a counter offer after the 5pm deadline. The union confirmed that planned industrial action, which was due to begin on Monday, would be “immediately withdrawn” now that members have agreed to the wage deal.