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RMT - National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

07/29/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/28/2021 18:28

£9.3m in fees handed to Scottish private rail operators

RMT analysis reveals that the £9.3m in fees handed to private rail operators Abellio and Serco by the Scottish Government in just 6 months could have instead funded a pay award for ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper workers.

RAIL UNION RMT today condemned the Scottish Government's continued refusal to fund a pay award for ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper workers, as the union published research which found that the fees, totalling over £9.3m, paid to operators Abellio and Serco for their initial 6-month Covid-19 Emergency Measures Agreement would be more than enough to fund an annual pay award for these essential workers.

The Scottish Government has been managing the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises since March 2020, when it transferred the private operators Abellio and Serco onto Covid-19 Emergency Measures Agreements (EMA). The terms of the EMAs permit the payment of performance and management fees to the operators.

At the same time, the Scottish Government continues to refuse to fund a pay award for ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper workers, despite the key role they have played throughout the pandemic and the soaring cost of living. RPI inflation currently stands at 3.9% and RMT analysis reveals that the fees paid to Abellio and Serco for just six months would be more than enough to fund a pay award for their workers at this level.

The EMAs remain in place, and are expected to run until March 2022, and the operators stand to receive millions more in fees for this period. RMT believes that the Scottish Government cannot continue to treat its rail workers with contempt, and it must instead commit to funding a pay award for these key workers.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

'Abellio ScotRail and Serco Caledonian Sleeper workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, yet they are still being denied a pay rise despite their heroism and the soaring cost of living.

'It is a complete kick in the teeth for these key workers that the management and performance fees paid by the Scottish Government to private operators Abellio and Serco for just six months, under their first Emergency Measures Agreement, would be more than enough to fund a pay rise that would help insulate these workers from the impacts of rocketing inflation.

'The Scottish Government keeps saying there is no funding for a pay award for these essential workers, but the fees paid to Abellio and Serco make it abundantly clear that it's one rule for the private operators and quite another for the frontline workers who have kept Scotland's rail network running throughout the pandemic.

'That the fees were actually paid in January 2021 reinforces RMT's longstanding concerns that the Scottish Government was trying to evade scrutiny over this issue by unnecessarily delaying their publication for months.

'The Scottish Government cannot continue to treat its essential workers with disdain. RMT is demanding that, as a matter of urgency, it commits to funding a pay award that values these workers and recognises the increasing costs of living they face.'

Notes for editors:

The fees are:

The figures for ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper staff wages and salaries are taken from the latest accounts on Companies House.

Scotrail

Staff costs

Wages and salaries (12 months)

217,630,000

Inflation matching pay rise (12 months, 3.9% RPI)

8,487,570

Management & performance fees (March to September 2020)

8,873,098

Serco Caledonian Sleeper

Staff costs

Wages and salaries (12 months)

£8,162,000

Inflation matching pay rise (3.9% RPI)

£318,318

Management & performance fees (March to September 2020)

£497,189