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RMT - National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

08/01/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/01/2021 02:48

ScotRail strike solid once more

As RMT ScotRail members stand firm again today in their fight for pay justice the union reveals that an internal Abellio report advocates service cuts, ticket office closures and job losses across Scotland's railway

As RMT ScotRail members stand firm in their long running dispute for pay justice again today their union has exposed the bleak future of Scotland's railway according to a new report circulated by Abellio ScotRail.

RMT can reveal that the report, written by Professor Iain Docherty, a former non-executive director of ScotRail and Transport Scotland, advocates service cuts, ticket office closures and job losses across Scotland's rail network.

The report questions whether 'the provision of ticket offices is viable in the future', exposing an attempt to justify attacks on ticket offices and could mean the closure of up to 140 ticket offices across Scotland.

The report also advocates service cuts, predicts a workforce reduction and talks of a 'unique platform' to 'reduce staff costs quickly'. The savage cuts proposed would mean more than 85,000 annual rail services being cut and a loss of more than 1000 jobs.

RMT believes that it is crystal clear that this report has been commissioned with the sole purpose of attempting to legitimise damaging cuts to Scotland's rail network which will be disastrous for passengers and are a kick in the teeth for Scotland's key worker rail staff who have risked their lives throughout the pandemic.

The union is demanding clarity from the Scottish Government, which is managing the ScotRail franchise under its Emergency Measures Agreement, regarding any role it had in the production of this report, and seeking urgent confirmation that it will ensure that services, jobs and ticket offices on Scotland's rail network will be protected now and in the future.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

'This report, produced by a former non-executive director of both ScotRail and Transport Scotland, is a blatant attempt to further a cuts agenda that will be devastating for Scotland's railway.

'On the one hand the report rightly acknowledges that Scotland's rail network has a central role to play in meeting climate change targets, yet it goes on to advocate service cuts, ticket office closures and job losses. This will make Scotland's railway far less safe, secure and accessible for passengers and runs counter to Scotland's Net Zero targets.

'The Abellio ScotRail franchise continues to be fully funded and managed by the Scottish Government and RMT is demanding to know if the Scottish Government had a role in the commissioning of this report.

'It was recently revealed that Dutch state-owned Abellio received nearly £9m in fees, funded from public money, under its initial six-month EMA, and it appears as though there is now a blatant attempt to force passengers and rail workers pay the price of the Covid-19 pandemic.

'With COP26 taking place in Scotland in November, and ScotRail coming into public ownership in eight months' time, we need an alternative future for Scotland's railway which values passengers and staff, and invests in creating a sustainable, affordable and accessible rail network.'

Ends

Geoff Martin

07831 465 103

Notes for editors:

The report Prepared by Professor Iain Docherty and presented to the RMT by Abellio ScotRail states that:

'Revenue spend: How can the sector reduce its ongoing revenue requirement so that it presents a more sustainable cost base to government? This will at the very least require revisiting of difficult and long avoided questions of the size and role of the workforce, and whether legacy business activities such as the provision of ticket offices is viable in future. 20% of workforce is projected to retire or leave the sector for other reasons in the next 5 years. A reduced service level has been operating for more than a year now and can enable transition to a demand (rather than politically) driven timetable structure which can meet the future needs of customers and the economy with at least 10% fewer services and vehicle miles than before the pandemic. These three factors provide a unique platform tomodernise and reduce staff costs quickly. There is also a clear opportunity to explore how digital technologies and automation of certain functions could reduce revenue spend, but this will require addressing 'difficult' cultural and political questions. In the short term, maintaining a more efficient timetable of the kind achieved during the pandemic will be essential to ensure ongoing commitment to the financial case for rail, but immediate service reductions such as reduced frequencies must be balanced against the medium and longer term objectives to significantly expand the role of rail in the mobility mix.'

The ScotRail ticket offices are at:

ABERDEEN; ABERDOUR; AIRDRIE; ALEXANDRIA; ANDERSTON; ANNIESLAND; ARBROATH; ARDROSSAN SOUTH BEACH; ARGYLE STREET; AVIEMORE; AYR; BALLOCH CENTRAL; BARRHEAD; BATHGATE; BEARSDEN; BELLSHILL; BISHOPBRIGGS; BISHOPTON; BLAIRHILL; BLANTYRE; BRIDGETON; BURNSIDE; BURNTISLAND; CAMBUSLANG; CARDONALD; CARDROSS; CARLUKE; CARSTAIRS; CARTSDYKE; CATHCART; CHARING CROSS; CLARKSTON; CLYDEBANK; COATBRIDGE SUNNYSIDE; COWDENBEATH; CROFTFOOT; CROSSHILL; CROY; CUMBERNAULD; CUPAR; DALMARNOCK; DALMENY; DALMUIR; DALREOCH; DINGWALL; DRUMCHAPEL; DRUMRY; DUMBARTON CENTRAL; DUMFRIES; DUNBLANE; DUNDEE; DUNFERMLINE; EAST KILBRIDE; EASTERHOUSE; ELGIN; EXHIBITION CENTRE; FALKIRK GRAHAMSTON; FALKIRK HIGH; FORRES; FORT WILLIAM; GARROWHILL; GARSCADDEN; GIFFNOCK; GIRVAN; GLASGOW CENTRAL HIGH LEVEL; GLASGOW CENTRAL LOW LEVEL; GLASGOW QUEEN STREET; GLENGARNOCK; GOUROCK; GREENOCK CENTRAL; GREENOCK WEST; HAMILTON CENTRAL; HAMILTON WEST; HAYMARKET; HELENSBURGH CENTRAL; HIGH STREET GLASGOW; HILLINGTON EAST; HILLINGTON WEST; HUNTLY; HYNDLAND; INVERKEITHING; INVERNESS; INVERURIE; IRVINE; JOHNSTONE; KEITH; KILMARNOCK; KILWINNING; KINGHORN; KINGS PARK; KINGUSSIE; KIRKCALDY; KYLE OF LOCHALSH; LADYBANK; LANARK; LARBERT; LARGS; LENZIE; LEUCHARS; LINLITHGOW; LOCKERBIE; MALLAIG; MARKINCH; MILNGAVIE; MONTROSE; MOTHERWELL; MOUNT FLORIDA; MUIREND; NAIRN; NEILSTON; NEWTON; OBAN; PAISLEY GILMOUR ST; PARTICK; PERTH; PITLOCHRY; POLLOKSHIELDS EAST; POLMONT; PORT GLASGOW; PRESTWICK; QUEENS PARK; RUTHERGLEN; SALTCOATS; SCOTSTOUNHILL; SHETTLESTON; SHOTTS; SINGER; SPRINGBURN; STIRLING; STONEHAVEN; STRANRAER HARBOUR; THURSO; TROON; UDDINGSTON; WEMYSS BAY; WESTERTON; WHITECRAIGS; WICK; WILLIAMWOOD; WISHAW; WOODHALL.

Source: Ticketing & Settlement Agreement, Schedule 17 - https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/our-services/rdg-accreditation/ticketing-settlement.html

Professor Iain Docherty is Dean of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Stirling and a former non-executive director of ScotRail and Transport Scotland - https://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/who-would-want-run-scotrail-anyway-why-its-tough-sell-prof-iain-docherty-1399362

In 2019/20 Abellio ScotRail operated c2400 services a day - https://www.transport.gov.scot/public-transport/rail/scotrail-franchise/

The latest financial accounts for Abellio ScotRail, for the year to 31 March 2020, state that the average monthly number of employees was 5096 - https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/SC450732/filing-history