(SCOTLAND) Wages Award Report: A pay offer to avoid rail network being crippled by strikes during COP26 is “is not worthy of consideration”, a union has said #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.17: The dispute is linked to an ongoing row over pay which has affected Sunday services in recent months: ScotRail said its latest two-year offer of 4.7% was “very reasonable”.

#AceDailyNews says according to BBC Scotland the rail union rejects ‘unacceptable’ pay offer of 4.7% for two years to avoid strikes The RMT said members who work for ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper will stage industrial action during the UN climate summit in Glasgow.

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But Michael Hogg, from the RMT union, said it would not ballot ScotRail workers on a deal he described as “rotten” and “lousy” as it also involved efficiency savings: That would mean workers having to give up some current terms and conditions in order to get a pay rise, a caveat Mr Hogg branded “unacceptable”.

Mr Hogg told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme there will be no trains running anywhere in Scotland during COP26 if the strikes go ahead.

He added: “Our representatives do not feel that this offer is worthy of consideration. It’s a kick in the teeth to key, essential workers.”

On Thursday, it was announced staff will strike from 00:01 on Monday 1 November until 23:59 on Friday 12 November.

The global COP26 summit, which is expected to draw thousands of people to Glasgow, runs from 31 October until 12 November.

Sleeper staff will strike on Sunday 31 October from 11:59 until 11:58 hours on Tuesday 2 November and again for 48 hours on Thursday 11 November from 11:59.

GMB cleansing workers in Glasgow and Unite’s Stagecoach staff have also voted to strike during COP26……

ScotRail operations manager David Simpson told Good Morning Scotland “a very positive offer” was made to the union last weekend and he had expected it to be put to the RMT’s members.

But instead it called a strike, a move he said was “very frustrating and very disappointing”.

Mr Simpson denied ScotRail had been “stonewalling” the union and said the pandemic had prompted more discussion over the last 18 months than ever before.

He added: “Many workers would say 4.7% over two years is anything but a derisory offer and it compares well with other industries.”

Getty ImagesAll scheduled trains will be cancelled if the strikes go ahead

Kathryn Darbandi, managing director for Serco Caledonian Sleeper, said any action during the climate summit would be incredibly damaging.

She said: “We have repeatedly tabled realistic and reasonable offers which we believe should have ended the dispute. 

“Industrial action during COP26 – when the eyes of the world will be on Scotland – risks both the reputation of rail as an environmentally-friendly and sustainable mode of transport, but also the great progress the entire team at Caledonian Sleeper have made in building back the confidence of our guests.

“The RMT’s action does not reflect the reality of the financial situation facing all parties in Scotland’s railway today, as we seek to rebuild the industry for the future. We need to work together, and we continue to be open to realistic discussions.” 

PA Media: The climate summit will be held at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow

Transport Minister Graeme Dey said that the RMT was in receipt of a “very fair” pay proposal.

And he told Good Morning Scotland many of its members will have voted for strike action “unaware of the offer that is now on the table”.

Mr Dey also described the two-year deal, which he said has been backed by the three other unions involved, was “the best offer that can be made in the circumstances”. 

But Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson accused the Scottish government of distancing themselves from the dispute.

He said: “Glasgow is about to take centre stage in a matter of weeks, and the SNP are still claiming they have no idea why rail strikes are continuing.

“SNP ministers must work with all parties to find a solution before these persisting strikes cast a shadow over the COP26 conference.”

It is the latest stage in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions and proposed cuts to services at the rail operator, which wants to reduce the number of services across Scotland by 300 a day from next May.

ScotRail is currently run by Dutch firm Abellio – but will be taken over by a company owned and controlled by the Scottish government in March next year.

The move was announced by the government earlier this year after Abellio was stripped of its contract three years early amid concern over its performance. 

‘Significant offer’

Transport Scotland said it welcomed constructive talks between all parties and that a “significant offer” has been made by employers since the RMT ballot opened.

A spokeswoman said: “We understand that the RMT will now ballot its membership again on the substance of this offer. We hope that RMT members and the other unions will agree and accept this offer, putting to an end existing and proposed industrial disputes and action: Rail workers have played their part in keeping the country moving through the pandemic and we are sure that they will see the importance of the moment and the role they can play in showing the best Scotland’s Railway has to offer as we welcome world leaders from across the globe to COP26.”

Meanwhile, Chris Mitchell of the GMB denied cleansing workers in Glasgow were using the global climate conference as a bargaining chip.

Mr Mitchell claimed his members had been “put in a corner” by Cosla despite their “heroic efforts” during the pandemic.

And he told Good Morning Scotland the current pay offer of £850 a year would only amount to an extra £6.50 a week, after tax and National Insurance was taken off.

Mr Mitchell said he acknowledged the importance of COP26, but added: “Cosla need to realise there is an emergency on their own door step.”

The COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow in November is seen as crucial if climate change is to be brought under control. Almost 200 countries are being asked for their plans to cut emissions, and it could lead to major changes to our everyday lives…..

#AceNewsDesk report ………………Published: Oct.17: 2021:

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