By Phil Marsh

Hopes of RMT dispute settlement raised as new strikes are announced then suspended

Published: 4th August 2016

Who should control the train doors dispute settelement talks?

A fresh strike was called by the RMT union against ScotRail but hopes have been raised of a settlement in the dispute over who controls train doors.

The union is protesting against the introduction of new trains on which drivers would release external doors on trains instead of conductors.

The union had proposed that ScotRail conductors should strike over 48 hours on Sunday and Monday 7 and 8 August, following several one and two-day strikes in previous weeks.

But the company plans to run most of its trains anyway, as it has done during previous strikes, using other people to take the role of the guard on selected trains. Many ScotRail trains have already been running for around 30 years without guards.

The RMT seeks reassurances that driver-only operation will not be extended.

They said:

Scotland’s transport Minister, Humza Yussaf MSP, said on 1 August that he believed there was a possibility of a settlement.

Speaking after a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee considered the prospects of more disruption, Mr Yussaf said: “I believe there is a solution to be found through negotiation and as talks are still ongoing I would call for these strikes to be suspended and for all parties to focus on resolving this increasingly frustrating situation.”

The Minister said that ScotRail had run more than 80 per cent of trains as normal on recent strike dates. Intending passengers are advised to check train times in advance.

Strikes suspended

Strikes at ScotRail were suspended by the RMT union 72 hours after setting the next dates (details above) after hopes were raised of a settlement in the dispute over who controls train doors.

The union has been protesting, as with Southern, against the introduction of new trains on which drivers would release external doors on trains instead of conductors.

The RMT had proposed that ScotRail conductors should strike over 48 hours on Sunday and Monday 7 and 8 August, following several one and two-day strikes in previous weeks. But by 4 August, strike action had been suspended pending further talks between management and union.

The company had planned to run most of its trains anyway, as it has done during previous strikes, using other people to take the role of the guard on selected trains. Many ScotRail trains have already been running for around 30 years without guards.

Edinburgh-Glasgow sparkies to commence in July next year

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the first electric trains will run between Edinburgh and Glasgow through Falkirk High from July 2017 instead of December 2016. But the plans for EGIP, the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Project, are still said to be on course for electrification of the route by the end of next year as originally planned.

The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) is a £742million upgrade scheme in Scotland. It is a Scottish Government priority and being delivered by Network Rail and will see the modernisation and upgrade to key junctions and infrastructure and electrification between Edinburgh and Glasgow and to Stirling and Dunblane.

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