Rail operator 'shambolic' over service cuts say unions

Written by Tom Freeman on 2 July 2015 in News

Moves to cut Sunday services by Abellio coincides with pay negotiations

Trade unions have hit out at Scotrail operator Abellio after the Dutch firm announced fewer trains will run on Sundays.

A new timetable was published today which show reduced services will run on Sunday, which the company claims is due to declining numbers of train drivers volunteering for Sunday work.

The move has coincided with ongoing pay negotiations.


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Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said the move was “astonishing” because it has only been three months since the franchise was taken over by the company.

“Their approach to workforce planning and industrial relations appears nothing short of shambolic and contrary to the impression they were anxious to portray during the bid process.

“The Scottish Government must now answer serious questions over how service cuts and amateur industrial relations are permissible under the terms of a very detailed franchise agreement,” he said.

Scotrail Alliance – which represents both Abellio Scotrail and Network Rail – claim the decision was not taken lightly.

Managing Director Phil Verster said Abellio had inherited a business running a seven day railway with a six-day rota.

“We have made an offer to our train drivers that would see them get more pay, have less weekend working and have a better work/life balance. Our further commitment to employ up to 100 new train drivers will make our Sunday services robust,” he said.

ScotRail has offered its train drivers a pay rise of 2.5 per cent and a one-off bonus payment that, taken together, equates to 3.7 per cent of an average driver’s base salary. The offer would see a shift to make Sundays a part of the working week.

Train drivers union Aslef claim the offer is conditional on a range of measures including reducing drivers' breaks, and the one-off bonus had been lowered to pay for new staff.

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