Ser­vices scrapped in train driver dis­pute

Hopes high fur­ther dis­rup­tion can be avoided

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Around a third of train ser­vices to Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang were scrapped on Sun­day as ScotRail were forced to run a re­vised ser­vice due to a short­age of driv­ers.

But hopes are high that a re­peat this Sun­day ( July 12) can be avoided.

Fresh talks be­tween ScotRail and train driv­ers union Aslef took place yesterday (Tues­day) and were due to start again to­day.

The on­go­ing dis­pute re­lates to the fact train driv­ers work Sun­days on a vol­un­tary ba­sis.

Dutch firm Abel­lio, who took over the ScotRail fran­chise ear­lier this year, say they have in­her­ited a seven-day rail net­work with a six­day work­ing week.

ScotRail had pre­vi­ously of­fered driv­ers a 2.5 per cent pay rise and a one-off bonus, but Aslef, who are set to bal­lot mem­bers on the pos­si­bil­ity of strike ac­tion, say 1.4 per cent of that is funded by train driv­ers hav­ing shorter breaks, changes to their avail­abil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity, and a re­duc­tion in train­ing.

Rail pas­sen­gers in the two towns are al­ready pre­par­ing for week­end dis­rup­tion, with the line set to close be­tween Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang on both Satur­day and Sun­day.

The week­end starts a fort­night pe­riod where on­go­ing work will af­fect the two sta­tions, with some New­ton high- level ser­vices also be­ing af­fected with trains con­tin­u­ing to fur­ther des­ti­na­tions.

On Sun­day past ( July 5), just three trains an hour stopped at both Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang, in each di­rec­tion, down from four and five re­spec­tively.

Af­ter talks con­cluded on Tues­day, a spokesper­son for Abel­lio, said: “We are pleased that progress is be­ing made and look for­ward to more talks on Wed­nes­day.”

Ruther­glen MSP, James Kelly, de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as “a com­plete and ut­ter sham­bles,” and placed the blame on the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment for not bring­ing the fran­chise into public hands.

He said: “Last year the SNP Gov­ern­ment in Ed­in­burgh hailed this deal, worth hun­dreds of mil­lions of tax­payer cash, as world lead­ing and cost ef­fec­tive – so why is it run­ning into such prob­lems so soon?

“The SNP need to ex­plain why a seven day work­ing week wasn’t fac­tored into the bid­ding process, and clar­ify what, if any, agree­ments in the fran­chise have been breached.

“Scot­tish Labour back a Peo­ple’s ScotRail which would al­low for a public sec­tor non-profit bid to run the rail­ways, an op­er­a­tor that would be more ac­count­able to the Scot­tish public. Af­ter the prob­lems since Abel­lio took over, it is an idea whose time has come.”

How­ever, a spokesper­son for Trans­port Scot­land, said: “Cur­rent fran­chis­ing rules pre­vent public sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions from bid­ding to op­er­ate the rail­ways.

“Prior to the ScotRail fran­chise com­pe­ti­tion the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment asked to change the leg­is­la­tion to al­low public sec­tor bids; this was re­fused by the UK Gov­ern­ment, forc­ing us to go ahead with the fran­chise ten­der­ing process.

“It is made clear within the cur­rent fran­chise agree­ment that we ex­pect a rail ser­vice which meets the needs of Scot­land’s pas­sen­gers to run for seven days a week and it is down to Scotrail to de­cide how this should be done.”

Last week, we re­ported that work on the £500mil­lion ‘M8, M73, M74 Mo­tor­way Im­prove­ments Pro­ject’ was set to cause rail dis­rup­tion through the two towns.

The line be­tween Ruther­glen and Whif­flet will be closed be­tween Satur­day, July 11, and Sun­day, July 26 to al­low work on the new rail­way bridge span­ning the M8 at Bail­lieston to take place.

Ser­vices be­tween Bal­loch/ Dalmu i r / Mi l n gav i e and Mother­well/Whif­flet via Glas­gow Cen­tral will be af­fected.

Re­place­ment buses will run be­tween Dal­marnock and Mother­well, call­ing at all sta­tions via Whif­flet.

Ad­di­tional work will see the line be­tween Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang com­pletely closed on Satur­day, July 11 and Sun­day, July 12.

This will af­fect ser­vices be­tween Glas­gow Cen­tral - Cum­ber­nauld/ La­nark/ Larkhall/ Mother­well/ New­ton/Whif­flet.

Pas­sen­gers are ad­vised to go to www. scotrail. co. uk for more in­for­ma­tion.

Dis­rup­tion Ser­vices through Ruther­glen were af­fected at the week­end

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.