FIRST MINISTER FIDDLES WHILE SCOTRAIL BURNS
It’s lovely that Nicola Sturgeon shows up at Queen Street station in Glasgow to listen to a string quartet. But it is the railway workers in Scotland that she should be listening to this morning.
Because it appears that the First Minister is fiddling while ScotRail – and our railway network here in Scotland – burns.
The Scottish government has failed, miserably, to intervene in the ongoing disputes on our railway. If anything, they are culpable, given the negative role Transport Scotland has played in instructing Abellio ScotRail not to pay staff what they deserve.
Plans to close ticket offices and cut staff will make taking the train less attractive – and less safe – at the time when we need more people to use our railways as this country recovers from the covid-19 pandemic.
Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, said: ‘Expansion and greater investment is needed, not cuts to services and resources. There is no way Scotland can take the climate action it needs without appropriate investment in our railways and in the staff who keep Scotland moving.
‘It is time for the Scottish government to understand that the staff are the railway’s biggest asset. And high time we were seen as such, rather than as a “potential efficiency” which is how the company is treating us at the moment.
‘That’s why Scotland’s rail workers are united in telling the First Minister “No ifs, no buts, no railway sector cuts”.’
Note to editors:
ScotRail, together with the Scottish government, is proposing to cut 300 services each day – that’s more than 100,000 trains each year – which will hit passengers, and businesses, in this country very hard. It’s the wrong decision – wrong for passengers, wrong for businesses, and wrong for hard-working ScotRail staff who worked throughout the pandemic to keep key workers and goods moving around our country – at the wrong time.
Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: ‘As we try to rebuild the country after the ravages of the covid-19 pandemic, we need to restore services, not cut them, to grow, not shrink, the Scottish economy.’
We wrote to the First Minister last week [letter attached] asking her to meet us at Bute House tomorrow to discuss the future of rail services in Scotland.
Kevin Lindsay said: ‘Abellio appears, perversely, to want Scotland’s railway network to contract and decline rather than to expand and grow. But we want the railway to thrive to help our economy succeed. Because rail is the green transport solution. It would be ironic if, in the year this country hosts COP26, Abellio ScotRail drive people, and goods, back onto our roads.’
For further information please call Kevin Lindsay on 07789 276746 or contact:
Media & Communications
77 St John Street
Tel: 020 7324 2407
Mob: 07977 498794