Scotland falls at first hurdle over ScotRail cuts

Scotland falls at first hurdle over ScotRail cuts

21 September 2021

RMT Press Office:

As the Scottish Government debates its plans for becoming a ‘Net Zero Nation’, RMT says SNP and Scottish Greens power sharing agreement will have fallen at first hurdle if it allows ScotRail services to be slashed.

As the SNP Scottish Government prepares to debate its plans for a ‘Net Zero Nation’ rail union RMT says that its recently announced power sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens will have fallen at the first hurdle if it allows massive cuts to ScotRail services to go ahead.

Failed ScotRail operator Dutch-state owned operator Abellio is consulting on proposals to slash c300 ScotRail services a day. This comes on the back of a ScotRail commissioned report, produced by Professor Iain Docherty which advocated damaging service cuts, ticket office closures and job losses across Scotland’s rail network. Yet, in contrast, the Scottish Government and Scottish Greens power sharing plans, announced last month, talk about the ‘crucial role’ that transport has in ‘supporting a green and fair recovery’ and makes a commitment to increasing investment in public transport.

RMT is demanding that the Scottish Government, which is managing the ScotRail franchise under its Emergency Measures Agreement, shows that its deal with the Scottish Greens is more than just empty rhetoric, and urgently put the brakes on the proposed cuts to ScotRail services.

RMT is joining the other rail unions (Aslef, TSSA and Unite) tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd September, at 12 noon, to demonstrate outside the First Minsters’ official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh over the future of Scotland’s railways.

With industrial relations on Scotland’s railway at an all-time low, the Unions are calling on the First Minister to meet with them on Wednesday to discuss the future of Scotland’s railway and are seeking a commitment from her that the Scottish Government will halt the damaging proposals to slash ScotRail services.

General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

“The Scottish Government is today debating the ‘urgent transformational action’ that is required for Scotland to become a Net Zero Nation. Yet, if the Scottish Government presides over the slashing of ScotRail services, it will make a mockery of its commitment to tackle the climate emergency and its agreement with the Scottish Greens to ‘build a green economic recovery from Covid’. If these cuts go ahead, it is clear that the SNP and Scottish Greens deal will have fallen at the first hurdle.

“The Scottish Government is managing the ScotRail franchise under its ongoing Emergency Measures Agreement and it has the power to block the service cuts being proposed. It cannot evade responsibility over this issue.

“With COP26 just weeks away, it beggars belief that the Scottish Government is happy to preside over massive cuts to rail services, despite this being a sustainable and low carbon form of transport. This will do nothing to make Scotland a ‘Net zero nation’ and will just push more people into cars.

“RMT will be joining the other rail unions to demonstrate outside the First Minister’s official residence tomorrow, and we are demanding a commitment from her that she will block the proposals to cut ScotRail services.”

Notes for editors: 
A Scottish Government debate on ‘Net Zero Nation’ is scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday 21 stSeptember -  https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/whats-on-and-watch-live/whats-on?dateFrom=2021-09-21#wm The following motion has been tabled for the debate: 
Motion ref: S6M-01293
Asked by: Michael Matheson
That the Parliament agrees that the Scottish Government must do everything in its power to tackle the escalating climate and nature emergencies and deliver a just transition for all; notes the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and the need for Scotland to advance determinedly to decarbonise homes, buildings, energy, industry and transport, and to restore, protect and enhance the natural environment and its assets; welcomes, therefore, the Scottish Government's commitments in this area, which include investing at least £1.8 billion in zero carbon buildings during the current parliamentary session, achieving a 20% reduction in car kilometres by 2030 and setting targets for species protection in a nature recovery bill; agrees that the transition to a low-carbon economy and a climate resilient Scotland requires urgent transformational action and must be done in a fair and just way that leaves no one, and no community, behind, and recognises that there are also significant opportunities for Scotland to lead the way globally in finding solutions.
 
RMT, jointly with Aslef, TSSA and Unite is holding a demonstration, outside the First Minister’s official residence, Bute House, Edinburgh, commencing at 12 noon on Wednesday 22 nd September 2021. 
The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party agreement is here -  https://www.gov.scot/news/agreement-with-scottish-green-party/
ScotRail’s ‘Fit for the Future’ timetable consultation is proposing a new timetable of around 2100 services per weekday, compared to c2,400 per day, pre-Covid ( https://www.transport.gov.scot/public-transport/rail/scotrail-franchise/). The consultation is open until 1 October -  https://www.scotrail.co.uk/about-scotrail/fit-future

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Tagged with: ScotRail, Abellio, Transport Scotland, SNP, Service Cuts