ScotRail strikes to go ahead during Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, union says in pay dispute

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Rail strikes will go ahead as planned during crucial climate talks, the RMT union has confirmed – effectively shutting down Scotland’s train services when thousands of people plan to travel to Glasgow.

ScotRail strikes to go ahead during Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, union says in pay dispute
© Getty Images

World leaders will gather at the SEC in Glasgow for next month’s summit

– Getty Images

ScotRail workers will strike from 1 to 12 November, to coincide with the Cop26 summit, which opens on 31 October.

Some of the biggest names in the world including the Queen, Joe Biden, Pope Francis and Sir David Attenborough are due to be at the talks.

Many of those attending, also including John Kerry and Greta Thunberg, will be keen to avoid using cars.

Following months of Sunday strikes, RMT members voted last week in favour of further action in their dispute over pay and conditions.

The union has formally rejected a 4.7 per cent, two-year pay deal, which ScotRail described as “very reasonable”.

Earlier this week the TSSA union, which represents managers in the conductor and revenue teams at Scotland’s train operator, said it would no longer take part in industrial action after accepting a better pay offer.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch confirmed strike action would go ahead as planned during Cop26, accusing ScotRail of “failing to get serious” in talks with the union.

He said: “There was a golden opportunity for ScotRail to make serious progress in talks today, but instead they offered nothing of any consequence, and as a result our action throughout Cop26 goes ahead as planned.”

Mr Lynch has previously urged Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon  to personally intervene in the dispute.

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland, the Scottish government’s transport agency, said it was disappointing that the RMT had not put the pay offer to its members in a ballot.

The union had rejected the 4.7 per cent offer because it would mean workers giving up some current terms and conditions.

Ian McConnell, ScotRail chief operating officer, said: “I’m disappointed and incredibly frustrated that RMT representatives have point blank rejected our latest proposal.

“The RMT leadership, despite stating that the only matter needing to be resolved was rest day working, have now moved the goalposts without consulting their members. It can only indicate they’re not serious about moving forward and delivering a successful COP26.

“Time is now running out to reach agreement and, despite a pay offer of 4.7 per cent over two years, a £300 payment for COP26, and a rest day working enhancement, it seems RMT bosses are intent on sabotaging Scotland’s Railway’s role during COP26.

“With the threat of industrial action remaining, we’re continuing to develop contingency plans to provide a core service for the duration of the summit.”

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