Glasgow Queen Street ScotRail Class 385 EMU

UK: Following the rejection of a pay offer and a decision by many drivers not to make themselves available for overtime work, ScotRail is to introduce a temporary timetable from July 10 which removes around 600 services.

The company said the changes are ’a result of the ongoing impact of fewer train drivers than normal being available for overtime or rest day working, as is their contractual right’.

The emergency timetable will see the frequency of some peak-time services reduced from four to two trains per hour, and trains north of the central belt will also face service reductions.

ScotRail will continue to operate around 1 660 services each day. It says this reduced timetable will provide passengers with greater certainty and reliability than making late-notice cancellations.

Offer rejected

On July 5 the ASLEF, Unite, RMT and TSSA unions rejected a 5% pay increase offer put forward by ScotRail. ASLEF has confirmed that it will recommend a ballot for industrial action to its executive committee.

ScotRail’s Service Delivery Director Mark Ilderton said the company wants to hold further discussions with the unions in order to resolve the dispute. ‘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’, he said.

ScotRail says it is working to recruit 160 new drivers in order to improve reliability.

ASLEF placed the blame for the situation with the Scottish government, with the union’s Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay telling the media ’rather than slashing the timetable in an act of economic vandalism that will impact towns and cities across Scotland as well as Scotland’s rail passengers, ScotRail and the Scottish government must get serious about pay and urgently get back round the negotiating table with a serious and credible offer’.

He said ‘the Scottish government and ScotRail need to understand quickly that investment in our railways includes investing in its most precious resource, its workers. We urge them to come back to us with an offer that is serious and that treats our members with the fairness and respect they deserve.’