Hundreds of train engineers from the Unite union have voted for industrial action in a move that ScotRail said is “extremely disappointing”.
Nearly four out of five (78%) Unite-affiliated workers who maintain and fix ScotRail trains have backed strikes, likely to take place from the middle of September, after a ballot with 68.4% turnout, according to Unite Scotland.
The union said on Wednesday that it was “an inevitable outcome when workers are treated with no respect” and the ballot signalled a “final opportunity” for resolution.
Negotiations between ScotRail and Unite about pay, working conditions and redundancies ended acrimoniously last month, with the company maintaining there is no extra money because of Covid-19 pressures.
Other demands, including flexibility over holidays, compulsory redundancies and the reinstatement of the rest day working agreement, have all been rejected.
Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “The mandate Unite has received from its members at Abellio Scotrail is an indictment of the company’s behaviour and attitude towards its workers.
“Unite’s members have had their terms and conditions cut, while Abellio also refuse to offer a decent pay rise. The ballot result is the inevitable outcome when workers are treated with no respect.”
ScotRail has cancelled many weekend services after six months of consecutive Sunday walkouts by conductors in another long-running pay dispute.
A spokesman said: “It’s extremely disappointing that the engineering members of Unite have voted for this highly damaging strike action.
“Although we are starting to see customers gradually returning to Scotland’s railway, our financial position is precarious and strike action is wrong at a time when we need to deliver a safe and reliable service.
“We need to provide stability for our staff and customers and Unite is wrong to disrupt services instead of working with ScotRail to address the grave long-term challenges facing the rail industry.”
The ScotRail franchise is operated by Dutch firm Abellio but will be nationalised in March 2022 and run by the Government as an “operator of last resort”.