Rail union announces new strike dates

Rail Union RMT has announced a new series of strike dates. Picture Michael Gillen.
Rail Union RMT has announced a new series of strike dates. Picture Michael Gillen.

Rail union RMT has announced new strike dates on Scotrail over Driver Only Operation.

The new days of strike action are: Sunday, August 7 from 00.01 hours to 23.59 hours on Monday, August 8; Thursday, August 11 – 00.01 hours to 23.59 hours and Saturday, August 13 – 00.01 hours to 23.59 hours Sunday, August 14.

In addition to the strike dates, the union has also recently announced a series of public meetings and other campaign activities.

The new dates follow a series of strikes across Scotland, which have still not produced any movement on the core issues.

As a result, the union executive has decided there is no option but to move forward with a new programme of industrial action.

RMT’s policy is for no extension of Driver Only Operation (DOO) on any route or service and for the guard to be in full operational control of the power operated doors.

Furthermore, the union has made it clear that the union is totally opposed to any proposals for extending DOO, reducing or abolishing the safety role of the guard in the operation of the doors.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said; “Recent rock-solid strikes on ScotRail have been supported by the travelling public who understand that the staff are fighting for the basic principles of rail safety.

“In spite of this Abellio/Scotrail continue to ignore the strength of feeling amongst their staff and passengers over the extension of DOO. That is why we have no choice but to announce further strike dates.

“The workforce knows 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.

“We have had fantastic support from the travelling public for our action as passengers know full well that this strike is all about their safety.”

A spokesman for Scotrail said: “Just this afternoon we held discussions with the RMT which we would describe as encouraging. We talked through some ideas and we agreed to come together again to discuss them further.

“It really is the most extraordinary act of bad faith for the RMT to leave these positive talks and to immediately announce another round of strikes.

“These needless strikes are really hurting our people financially. We have guaranteed the jobs, pay and terms and conditions for our conductors and we have said that we will always schedule a second member of staff on board to look after our customers.

“59 percent of people who travel by train in Scotland do so on a service where the driver opens and closes the doors, while a second member of staff is there for safety and customer service duties. This has been the case for decades.”

The spokesman added: “The people who regulate safety on our railway - and we have the safest rail service in Europe - have said that this is a safe way of working.”