An environmental protest is to be led by transport workers who have accused the Scottish Government of a “betrayal” of their COP26 climate ambitions with cuts to public services.
Rail, ferry and energy workers will demonstrate in response to soaring train ticket prices, with the cost of travelling on public transport rising higher than car journeys, and cuts to infrastructure such as ticket offices.
Protesters will march from Edinburgh Waverley railway station to Bute House, the First Minister’s official residence, from 11am on Monday, according to the RMT trade union that has planned the demonstration.
The union says Nicola Sturgeon’s government is abandoning promises to tackle the climate emergency by cutting services and privatisation, including with ScotWind contracts going to fossil fuel firms including Shell and BP.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “COP26 started only three months ago but already the lofty rhetoric about fighting climate change seems a distant memory as we witness a betrayal of ambitions by the SNP and Green government to move towards a greener Scotland.
“Instead of cutting climate change the government is cutting rail services and ticket offices, threatening the privatisation of our lifeline ferry services, and doing far too little to protect the livelihoods of energy workers and the vital service they provide.
“As the country approaches the local government elections in May, this protest will be the start of a concerted campaign to persuade politicians to protect these services and jobs which are so vital to our local communities.”
Rail fares across Scotland rose by almost 4% last week, with former transport minister Graeme Dey admitting the increase is “unwelcome” but insisting it is necessary because of the impact of the pandemic.
From January 24 regulated fares at both peak and off-peak times increased by 3.8%, a rise determined by the level of the Retail Price Index (RPI) .
While the cost of off-peak tickets has gone up by a lower amount in previous years, the latest increase applies to all services.