ScotRail engineering staff to take strike action during COP26

Unite the union said the 24 hour stoppages were in response to a 'failure to make a meaningful pay offer'.

ScotRail engineering staff to take strike action during COP26 iStock

A union has confirmed that ScotRail engineering staff will take part in a series of 24 hour stoppages during COP26.

On Monday, Unite the union said the stoppages were in response to “the failure by Abellio Scotrail to make a meaningful pay offer”, despite industrial action short of a strike taking place since September 24.

The strike action will take place between October 18 and 19, November 1 and 2, November 10 and 11 and November 12 to 13. 

A number of the dates fall during the climate conference, which will be held in Glasgow and will see world leaders descend on the city from October 31 to November 12. 

Rail depots, workplaces and stations will be impacted by the strike action, including Glasgow Queen Street and Glasgow Central, Edinburgh Waverley and Perth.

Unite’s engineering members at Abellio Scotrail voted by 78% in support of strike action in a 68.4% ballot turnout.

Meanwhile 92% supported taking industrial action short of a strike.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite has been left with no choice but to resolutely respond to the reckless behaviour displayed by Abellio Scotrail management. 

“While discussions have continued these talks have produced absolutely nothing. There has been no pay offer and no movement by the company. 

“The talks have been spun out and cynically used as a delaying tactic to avoid the national embarrassment of having strike action during the COP26 climate change conference which is being held in Glasgow. 

“Well, these tactics have spectacularly backfired because our engineering members will now hold several 24 hour stoppages in the coming weeks.” 

“We want the Scottish public to know that we have exhausted the process. Unite’s members have been holding action short of strike in an attempt to get Abellio Scotrail to wake up, and to recognise the storm that they have created to no effect. 

“Now strike action will severely disrupt events and the COP26 climate change conference due to this shambolic company. 

“The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland must urgently intervene because the Abellio Scotrail management clearly lack the ability, humility and intelligence to live up to their responsibilities with respect to the workforce, and the Scottish public.”  

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We’re seeing customers gradually return to Scotland’s railway, but the scale of the financial situation ScotRail is facing is stark.

“We will continue to engage with the rail trade unions to find an agreement on pay and conditions.

“To build a more sustainable and greener railway for the future and reduce the burden on the taxpayer, we need to change. All of us in the railway – management, staff, trade unions, suppliers, and government – need to work together to modernise the railway so that it is fit for the future.”