ScotRail: When do train timetables go back to normal?

Acceptance of improved pay offer set to put an end to seven weeks of rail disruption for passengers in Scotland.

ScotRail: When do train timetables go back to normal? Scotrail

Train drivers have voted to accept a 5% pay rise offer plus bonuses from ScotRail, union Aslef confirmed on Monday.

The move will put an end to seven weeks of rail disruption for passengers, with hundreds of services set to be restored.

Members of the union refused to work overtime and rest days in May to protest pay and conditions. They rejected an offer of a 2.2% increase that Aslef chiefs branded “derisory”.

Train drivers will also get more money for rest days and Sunday working, as well as driving instructor and maternity pay.

The deal also includes a policy of no compulsory redundancies for the next five years.

What will happen now?

ScotRail and Aslef will hold talks in the coming days on the work needed to resume a full timetable as soon as possible.

The process will be dependent on drivers returning to work on rest days and picking up overtime, for which there is now extra money.

ScotRail said its teams are working hard to introduce a full timetable as soon as possible, but it could take up to 10 days to be fully restored.

How have the strikes affected services?

Some 700 services were slashed from timetables on May 23, when Aslef members started their action – a move transport minister Jenny Gilruth said would provide greater certainty.

People attending events such as concerts and football matches in recent weeks have faced the prospect of being left stranded.

Fans going to Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Hampden Park in June were told they had to leave the national team’s most important match in 20 years early if they wanted to catch the last service from Mount Florida, its nearest station, to Glasgow Central.

Meanwhile, thousands of golf fans have also been urged to avoid the railways by organisers of The Open Championship in St Andrews.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director of championships at The R&A, said there was “a risk that fans who travel by train may find there are no services to get them home”.

And festivalgoers wanting to watch Lewis Capaldi headline TRNSMT on Sunday were told if they waited until the end of his set they would not be able to catch the train home.

What is being said?

Aslef Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay thanked union members for voting in the ballot.

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

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

What politicians have said

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “I welcome the endorsement of this pay offer by Aslef members.

“We have worked hard in Scotland engaging with the employers to ensure the right offer is put on the table to reach a negotiated and agreed settlement on pay.”

She continued: “It is this Government’s belief that a progressive approach to industrial relations, and an effective voice for workers through trades unions, is at the heart of a fairer, more successful society.

“I would like to thank the negotiating teams at ScotRail for their hard work, and Aslef for negotiating in good faith.

“The Scottish Government will honour the agreement to fund the previously agreed 2.2% through the public sector pay policy, with the remainder being self-funded through increased revenue and roster flexibilities.”

Scottish Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport, Graham Simpson said: “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.

“However, this dispute could have been resolved much earlier if the Transport Minister 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.

“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.”

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