Scottish Government hits out at RMT leadership after pay deal rejected

It comes after RMT confirmed that strikes during the COP26 summit will go ahead.

Scottish Government hits out at RMT leadership after pay deal rejected STV News
A pay offer of 4.7 per cent over two years, a £300 payment for COP26, and a rest day working enhancement has been made.

The Scottish Government has said it is “utterly perplexed” by the leadership of RMT over their “inability” to see that their members will lose out by being unwilling to resolve the rail dispute ahead of COP26.

It comes after the union confirmed that strikes during the UN climate summit will go ahead.

Talks were held on Friday between RMT and ScotRail, with the union accusing the train operating of “offering nothing of any consequence”.

A pay offer of 4.7% over two years, a £300 payment for COP26, and a rest day working enhancement has been made.

However, RMT rejected the proposal without putting it before members, a move Transport Scotland described as “disappointing”.

It is understood that the deal has been accepted by ASLEF and TSSA, whilst Unite have recommended it to its members who are being balloted.

In a statement, a Scottish Government spokesperson welcomed the acceptance of the deal by the three unions, but accused RMT of letting its members down.

“For some weeks now, ScotRail has been in constructive discussion with the four Railway Trade Unions to negotiate a pay increase for 2021,” they said.

“They have done so in good faith and with a willingness to hear unions’ concerns and seek, through collective bargaining, to reach a position acceptable to all but especially union members and all of ScotRail’s workforce.

“Three out of four unions have now accepted, or recommended acceptance, of the pay offer and two have done so by balloting their membership. That is welcomed hugely.”

They continued: “We were disappointed that the RMT rejected the offer. Having taken nearly two weeks to tell ScotRail they were rejecting the offer, ScotRail sought to return immediately to the table to focus on the area the RMT said publicly was their one remaining concern – rest day working. 

“An offer in this regard was made, the RMT undertook to consider it. We fully expected their representatives to return with a counter offer – that after all is the nature of negotiations – yet the RMT leadership rejected that offer out of hand and returned to the issue of pay.”

The spokesperson indicated that the matter can still be resolved, whilst hitting out at RMT over their stance.

They said: “We note the latest public statement by the RMT leadership; Scotrail remains ready to return to the negotiating table at any point this weekend to consider again the issue of allowances for rest day working.

“This matter can be resolved, allowing everyone who works for Scotland’s Railway to get on with preparing to welcome the world to Glasgow. 

“We believe that’s what most of our railway employees want. We know a credible, good pay offer has been made that we think most ScotRail employees would want to accept. We hope that the RMT leadership will recognise this too.

“But at this point, we are utterly perplexed by the leadership’s inability to see that it is their members who stand to lose out, and that by its actions and unwillingness to seek meaningfully to resolve this matter, they are letting their members down.

“We don’t think anyone, including the membership of the RMT, wants to disrupt COP26 or the chance to showcase Scotland’s green, clean railway to a global audience. We hope that encompasses the RMT leadership too, although their approach to seeking resolution of matters does appear to call this into question.”

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