Nobody To Love Sigma
23 June 2016, 08:16
Commuters face more travel disruption with a second day of rail strikes.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union is staging the second in a series of six planned 24 hour walkouts in a dispute over driver only trains with ScotRail.
The first strike day on Tuesday led to heavier road traffic as about 30% of ScotRail services were unable to run, hitting tens of thousands of passengers.
A total of 15 routes, including Glasgow to Inverness and Edinburgh to Aberdeen, were cancelled while the frequency of other services was cut in half.
The RMT is opposed to the extension of driver-only and driver-controlled services and balloted ScotRail conductors last month, saying it had not received the assurances it had sought on the issue from the company.
These included guarantees that the safety role of conductors and their role in operating train doors would not be reduced or abolished.
Guards at the RMT backed walkouts by a ratio of 3:1, prompting the union to announce seven days of strikes during June and July.
General secretary Mick Cash said: ''While our members are on strike again today, defending jobs and safety on Scotland's railways, Abellio/ScotRail refuse to talk and are instead holed up in their bunker counting out the cash they have lifted out of passenger and taxpayers' pockets.
RMT members should not have to face the risk of their role and responsibilities being reduced and undermined.
The workforce also know only too well that there is a very real threat to passengers of watering down and wiping out the safety critical role of the guard on these ScotRail services. That is a lethal gamble with basic rail safety.
The union remains available for serious and meaningful talks but the ball remains firmly in ScotRail's court.''
ScotRail managing director Phil Verster said the strike is 'totally needless'.
He said: ''The RMT have refused point blank to talk to us about how we modernise and improve Scotland's railway. Instead they have hidden behind a national policy that says that nothing must ever change.
Tens of thousands of our customers will be disrupted and hundreds of our own people will be hit financially as a result of their intransigence.
The public will be astonished to hear that this is a strike only about who opens and closes doors on trains, nothing more.
The RMT are being, at best, disingenuous when they tell people that we are trying to have driver-only trains. We are not.''
Scotland's transport minister Humza Yousaf urged both sides to keep talking and described the action as 'very disappointing'.