Nicola Sturgeon urges talks to end ScotRail Sunday strikes

Sunday train services have been badly disrupted for several months amid dispute with union.

Nicola Sturgeon urges talks to end ScotRail Sunday strikes iStock

Nicola Sturgeon has encouraged all parties in the long-running ScotRail dispute to “get round the table” to find a resolution.

Strikes having stopped a majority of services on Sundays for several months and will do so again this weekend, when 50,000 are expected at Glasgow Green for TRNSMT.

Negotiations between ScotRail franchise holder Abellio and Unite ended acrimoniously last month, with the union claiming that their working relationship was “non-existent”.

ScotRail has expressed frustration at Unite for disrupting services instead of “working together” to address the longer-term challenges facing railways.

During FMQs at Holyrood, Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman asked how the Scottish Government plans to bring the long-running situation to an end.

“It has been six months since most people were able to get a train on a Sunday,” she said.

“Can the First Minister tell me how her government will bring this situation to an end in the short-term?

“And can she also give an assurance that when ScotRail is brought into public ownership, the governance structure will include representatives of workers and passengers, as well as appointees on the board?”

Sturgeon said that she would expect discussions with trade unions to be “at the heart” of ScotRail services as they come into public ownership.

She continued: “In terms of the current dispute, I know members are aware of the reasons lying behind that dispute, arising out of an agreement during Covid for enhanced rest-day working.

“That now that additional ticket examiners and conductors have been recruited, the issue of excessive rest-day working has been resolved.

“The unions and workers, and I understand why this would be the case, want to keep the temporary allowance and make it permanent.

“ScotRail’s view is that that is now sustainable for the future.”

The First Minister added: “I would call again on both parties to get round the table to find an agreement to that.

“It’s in nobodies interest, not least the workers, to have this dispute continue any longer.

“So, we will continue to encourage that and of course, we will continue to do the work which we expect to conclude in the early part of next year to bring ScotRail into full public ownership.”

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