Nationalised Scotrail slashes services


Scotrail has cut around a third of its weekday trains after a pay dispute led to a shortage of drivers, with a knock-on effect on services.

The newly-nationalised firm said it was aware how much recent disruption had been affecting passengers and believed that introducing a temporary timetable would provide greater certainty and reliability for those travelling.

On many routes, the last train will run in the early evening.

Scotrail said that following an announcement by drivers’ union ASLEF that it will ballot for industrial action over pay, ‘a significant number of drivers have been declining to make themselves available for overtime or rest day working’.

The rail operator, which came under public control last month, said it had been relying on drivers working overtime or on rest days, as the pandemic meant that training new drivers was significantly delayed.

It claimed that without COVID training, it would have trained around an extra 130 drivers today.

It said it was still working on temporary timetables for Saturdays, which will be broadly similar to Monday to Friday, as well as for Sundays, and would update passengers ‘in the coming days’.

The RMT union also said it would ballot its rail workers in Scotland will be balloted for strike action, following ScotRail's derisory ‘2.2%’ pay offer.

General secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘ScotRail needs to put its hands deeper into its pockets and start rewarding their staff properly.

‘We are in the midst of a brutal cost of living crisis for workers, but it is still party time for shareholders, speculators and big business executives. All we are asking for is a pay award that reflects the value of railway workers and the service they provide to the public day in, day out.’

On Friday, SNP first minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill MLA to her official residence.

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