Scotland's railway faces 'shutdown' despite 'breakthrough' pay talks

Thousands of rail network staff will strike over three days this month despite positive talks for train drivers.

Scotland’s railway faces ‘shutdown’ despite ‘breakthrough’ pay talks between ScotRail and Aslef train drivers Network Rail Scotland

Despite “breakthrough” pay talks between ScotRail and train drivers, Scotland’s rail network faces a total three-day shutdown.

More than 50,000 railway workers will walkout as part of three days of UK-wide strike action later this month, in the biggest dispute on train lines since 1989.

On Thursday, the union representing ScotRail train drivers announced it was recommending members accept a new improved pay deal including a 5% rise.

It sparked hope that the recently-nationalised operator’s “emergency timetable” that saw 700 services axed could be reversed.

Network Rail workers will walkout on three days in June.Network Rail Scotland

But staff at other train operating companies and Network Rail, the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, saw a similar pay deal turned down by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).

ScotRail said the RMT would instead recommend to its national executive committee that it ballots its members to strike.

ScotRail’s head of customer operations Phil Campbell said it was “astonishing” the union had rejected the offer without putting it to its members.

Following pay talks between train driver’s representatives and ScotRail resuming on Thursday, an improved deal was hailed as a “breakthrough and significant progress” by Aslef.

ScotRail is now under public ownership.iStock

The offer will be put to Aslef’s executive committee which will meet next Wednesday with the union’s entire negotiating team recommending acceptance.

If passed, it is then set be considered by union members and voted on in a referendum.

There has been no strike action, but drivers refused to work overtime resulting in major disruption to rail services with “emergency timetables” implemented across the country axing around 700 trains.

But even if current disruption is set to be resolved, disputes with Network Rail and between other employers and railway staff operating over Great Britain means passengers could see things get much worse.

RMT said industrial action on June 21, 23 and 25, will see the country’s “railway network” shutdown.

The action will affect the national railway network for the entire week where the three days of action have been called.

The union’s general secretary Mick Lynch said workers have been treated “appallingly”.

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