RMT - National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

11/20/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2020 03:37

Scottish Government paying fee to Dutch state railways

As ScotRail workers are balloted for strike action an internal memo reveals the Scottish Government is blocking a pay rise for Scottish rail workers - whilst paying a 'fee' to Dutch State railways

As thousands of RMT ScotRail workers are being balloted for strike action an internal memo sent by rail bosses to their staff has revealed the Scottish Government is blocking pay negotiations.

The memo to staff dated 16th November sent by ScotRail chief operating officer Alex White says:

'ScotRail requires permission from the Scottish Government to enter pay talks, and subsequent approval for any increase in costs.

To date, following very regular discussions with Transport Scotland on this matter, ScotRail has not received that permission from the Scottish Government, given the uncertainty that currently exists over the future of the public finances and the settlement from the UK Government.'

At the same time questions in the Scottish Parliament have revealed that ScotRail, which is owned by Dutch State railways, will receive a 'fee' for operating ScotRail services - in addition to having all its other costs covered. That fee could be worth up to £12 million, just a portion of which could instead fund a pay rise for these key workers.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,

'This memo shows Scottish Ministers are blocking pay negotiations even though these key workers were due a settlement back in April.

'Despite being lauded as heroes for keeping people and goods moving during the pandemic, ScotRail workers are now being asked to pay the price of the Coronavirus crisis.

'At the same time Ministers have made the decision to pay Dutch state owned ScotRail a fee, as well as covering the day to day cost of running the railway.

'If Dutch owned Scotrail can be paid a fee then they can pay Scottish rail workers a decent pay rise.

'Scottish Government claims that the dispute is being caused by a funding disagreement with the UK Government just don't wash when we know the Scottish government has already allocated the transport budget for this year, including extra funding received to take into account Covid - 19.

'I will be writing to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking for her to intervene to allow negotiations to take place and withdraw the austerity the Scottish Government is imposing on rail workers.'

Ends.

Notes for editors

Parliamentary Questions revealing Dutch owned ScotRail are to receive a 'fee' for running rail services can be found below.

Question S5W-31977: Colin Smyth, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/09/2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether the extended Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) for Abellio ScotRail and Serco Caledonian Sleeper for the period from 20 September 2020 to January 2021 mirror the initial EMAs, or whether they have been amended in anyway.

Answered by Michael Matheson (06/10/2020):

The EMAs which expired on 20 September included a small management fee to be paid at the end of the variation period and were capped at 2%.

Under the new EMAs the payment of any management fees to Abellio ScotRail or Serco Caledonian Sleeper will depend entirely upon achieving satisfactory performance metrics. These are the same metrics as those contained in the previous EMAs - customer experience, operational performance and efficiency of operations and will be capped at 1.5%.

RMT calculation of Fee value below

TOC

Annual cost base 2018-19 (ORR*)

2% management fee 6 months

1.5% management fee 16 weeks

Total

Abellio Scotrail

£826,000,000

£8,260,000

£3,812,000

£12,072,000