Rail travel chaos set to end after drivers accept ScotRail pay offer

Drivers have voted to accept an improved 5% pay offer.

Significant disruption to rail travel is set to end after train drivers accepted a pay offer from ScotRail.

A temporary timetable has been put in place for several months after union members refused to work rest days and overtime.

It led to hundreds of train services being cut, with huge problems around large events such as gigs and football matches at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The offer will see drivers receiving a pay rise of 5%, whilst there are also improved terms and conditions.

Those apply to pay for rest day working, Sunday working allowances, driving instructor allowances, maternity pay and an extension of no compulsory redundancies to five years.

ScotRail has said its teams are “working hard” to introduce a full timetable as soon as possible.

ASLEF Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay thanked members for their engagement, after the union had recommended acceptance of the offer.

“Following a ballot on the improved offer negotiated with ScotRail, ASLEF members have voted to accept the proposals on pay and conditions,” he said.

“ASLEF is a democratic, lay, member-led union, and I want to thank our members for their engagement and response to the ballot.”

David Simpson, ScotRail Service delivery director, described the deal as a “significant step” towards delivering a reliable and sustainable railway.

“I am delighted that ASLEF members have voted for this pay deal,” said Simpson.

“All parties involved have worked hard to find an agreement that recognises the hard work of staff and the financial challenges faced by the railway as we look to recover from the pandemic.

“ScotRail, our staff, and our customers want to have a reliable, efficient, and sustainable railway that supports the economy and connects communities across the country.

“This deal is a significant step towards delivering that.”

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson welcomed the acceptance of the deal.

However, he criticised the Scottish Government’s handling of the dispute.

“It’s good news that after weeks of rail chaos there may finally be an end in sight to the SNP’s drastically reduced timetable,” said Simpson.

“However, this dispute could have been resolved much earlier if the transport minister (Jenny Gilruth) had taken charge of the situation instead of dodging responsibility for this shambles.

“The fact is that these cuts, and all the disruption and damage caused by them, could have been avoided if the SNP had got round the table and worked to resolve the situation.

“Instead, they chose to pass the buck and bring our rail service to its knees just a few weeks after nationalising ScotRail.”

Simpson urged Gilruth to urgently confirm when passengers can expect a full service to resume.

He continued: “Even now we have no clear picture of when timetables will get back to normal, and no concrete plan for resolving the problem of rest-day working that has led to Sunday timetables being slashed in half.

“Before the SNP start patting themselves on the back, Jenny Gilruth must urgently confirm when we can expect full service to resume and set out a concrete strategy for a rail service that is reliable, affordable and fit-for-purpose, going forward.”

 Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant suggested that the Government had “dragged out” the dispute.

“Rail passengers across Scotland will breathe a sigh of relief that this latest episode of ScotRail cuts and chaos looks set to end,” she said.

“The SNP could have avoided months of turmoil by getting round the table and offering a fair deal earlier – but instead they dragged out this dispute and let passengers pay the price.

“We need a cast-iron guarantee that services will be restored in full right away, as well as a real long-term plan to fix the staffing shortages at the heart of this mess.”

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