ScotRail strikes called off

A planned strike action by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) against Abellio ScotRail during the COP26 climate convention in Glasgow has been called off after an agreement on pay and working conditions was agreed between the two.

In a joint press statement issued on Wednesday 27 October, RMT and ScotRail announced that the new deal would last for a year, and would give RMT workers a 2.5 per cent pay increase during that time, backdated to April, alongside a £300 payment for supporting the climate convention.

The statement further established that the new agreement would see the 2.5 per cent pay increase not tied to productivity improvements and potential layoffs, resolving the most significant sticking point for RMT from previous ScotRail proposals.

The strike action had been approved by RMT members in mid October after the failure of negotiations between RMT and ScotRail on pay and working conditions which began at the start of the pandemic.

Throughout these negotiations, ScotRail had wanted to see any pay increase tied to productivity improvements and, potentially, layoffs, while RMT wanted to see any pay increase for their members come without these conditions.

As neither side was willing to yield, and ScotRail was unwilling to negotiate for a long period of time, the negotiations bore on for 18 months with little progress, leading to the October strike vote by RMT membership.

The cancellation of strike action during COP26 is set to come as a relief to the many conference delegates who are set to commute to Glasgow during the conference, including the approximate 1/5th of delegates who were set to commute to Glasgow from Edinburgh.

It will come, too, as a relief to many University of Edinburgh students who commute to and from Edinburgh by train for their education, a number which sat above 6 per cent of all university students as of 2019, according to a response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by The Student.

By Joe Sullivan

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