Rail operator ScotRail has made a new offer in the ongoing dispute over driver only operation (DOO), but has also threatened legal action ahead of new strikes next week.
The offer includes retaining conductors (guards) on newly electrified trains and, potentially, undertaking not to run trains without them.
In the parallel dispute between the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) and Southern Rail, GTR, which owns Southern, has argued in favour of removing responsibility for train doors from conductors, as it would allow the company to carry on running trains when no conductor was available.
The RMT union has said it will give the Scotrail offer ‘detailed scrutiny and consultation’ before making any formal response.
Prior to making the offer, ScotRail had written to the union threatening legal action in the dispute. An RMT spokesperson told Transport Network that this threat had not been withdrawn.
In a circular to members issued on Monday (1 August), RMT general secretary Mick Cash set out the details of the offer.
Mr Cash said ScotRail was proposing that services on newly electrified routes would be guaranteed a conductor on every new electrified train and ‘that the conductor will retain their full competency’.
ScotRail had also confirmed that trains operating these services ‘will not run without a competent conductor on board’, Mr Cash said.
A ScotRail spokesman said: ‘At yesterday’s meeting with the RMT we discussed a proposal that would see a conductor retained on the new electric trains when they enter service next year. It would also mean a change to the way in which those trains are dispatched.
‘We were encouraged by the talks yesterday but further discussion will need to take place. In order to enable this, we have asked the RMT to suspend all upcoming strikes and to encourage a return to normal working.’
However, the RMT said its current programme of industrial action, with new strikes beginning on Sunday (7 August), ‘remains on’.