10 February 2022
RMT Press Office:
On the day unions meet new Transport Minister to discuss Scottish Government plans for a ‘National Conversation’ about a ‘New Beginning’ for ScotRail, RMT reveals that a survey of ScotRail ticket office staff found that 99% believe that cuts to ticket offices will worsen passenger safety.
Following the Scottish Government’s announcement in the Parliament yesterday that it is holding a ‘National Conversation’ about a ‘New Beginning’ for ScotRail, which enters public ownership on 1 April 2022, RMT warns that this ‘New Beginning’ must not mean cuts to ticket offices and rail services and threats to jobs.
RMT’s warning comes as it is revealed that a survey of ScotRail ticket office staff found that 99% of respondents thought that the proposals to reduce ticket office hours at 117 ScotRail stations would worsen passenger safety.
The survey also found that:
• 99% of RMT ScotRail ticket office members think that the proposed cuts will reduce the range of services and advice available to passengers at the station
• 98% think the proposed cuts will worsen the level of service provided to passengers
• 99% think that the proposed cuts will worsen passenger accessibility
• 98% think the proposed cuts will worsen passenger security
Additionally, the survey found that 99% of ScotRail ticket office members think that the proposed cuts will lead to job losses or reductions in staffing in the future. At the same time, the Scottish Government has, so far, not committed to keeping the existing no compulsory redundancy agreement for ScotRail staff.
ScotRail also announced last week that from May 2022 it would be running 10% fewer services a day than pre-pandemic levels.
RMT believes that if the Scottish Government really wants ScotRail to be an ‘exemplar public sector company’ then it will scrap damaging plans to reduce services, cut ticket office hours and commit to protecting all ScotRail jobs.
General Secretary Mick Lynch said:
“A ‘New Beginning’ for ScotRail must not be based on cuts to services and ticket offices and threats to jobs. This will do nothing to improve passenger safety, security and accessibility or encourage passengers back to the rail network.
“Yesterday the Transport Minister announced a consultation about women’s safety on public transport in Scotland and agreed to a debate in the Scottish Parliament on this subject and this is very welcome, as is her commitment to work with the trade unions.
“Yet, as RMT’s survey of ScotRail ticket office staff found, an overwhelming 99% believe that the proposed cuts to ticket office hours will worsen passenger safety. The Transport Minister confirmed that she will be considering the outcome of the ticket office consultation in the coming weeks. If the Scottish Government really wants to engage in a meaningful ‘National Conversation’ about ScotRail then it must put the brakes on these damaging cuts which we believe will threaten women’s safety on public transport.
“The Transport Minister is meeting RMT and the other unions this afternoon, and RMT will be seeking concrete assurances that the Scottish Government will reject cuts to ticket offices and rail services and will commit to no compulsory redundancies for ScotRail staff. RMT is, of course, open to working with the Scottish Government to make the new public sector operator a success, but we will not allow our members to be made to pay the price of the Covid-19 pandemic and we will be considering our next steps if these assurances are not forthcoming.”
Notes to editors:
The full survey results are available in RMT’s response to the consultation - https://bit.ly/3sr5hE0