Glasgow COP26: ScotRail workers to strike during UN climate summit
ScotRail workers have voted to take part in a fresh series of strikes that coincide with the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this November.
Unite the Union said its members were “left with no choice” after crisis talks with Abellio Scotrail in recent weeks "produced absolutely nothing."
The union has been demanding a fairer pay settlement from the rail operator, which it described as “shambolic.”
Unite’s engineering members will now take part in a series of 24 hour “stoppages” on October 18-19, November 1-2, November 10-11, and November 12-13.
The union said its latest round of industrial action would “severely disrupt” the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasow, which will run from October 31 to November 12.
The event will see world leaders from nearly 200 countries, including United States President Joe Biden, Pope Francis and The Queen, descend on Glasgow for make-or-break negotiations on how to avoid the worst global effects of climate change..
The strike action will impact a number rail depots across Scotland, including facilities in Bathgate, Corkerhill (Glasgow), Dalmuir, Glasgow Central, Glasgow Queen Street, Edinburgh Haymarket, Edinburgh Waverley, Inverness, Motherwell, Perth, Shields (Glasgow) and Yoker.
It is not yet clear at what time the stoppages will begin at each location.
Unite said that 78 per cent of its Abellio Scotrail engineering members voted in support of strike action in a 68.4 per cent ballot turnout.
In a separate question, 92 per cent supported taking industrial action short of a strike.
Crisis talks between Abellio Scotrail management and Unite are continuing despite the announcement of stoppages, though no pay offer has yet been put to the trade union.
Unite’s demands also include the reinstatement of the Rest Day Working Agreement for around 250 engineers who provide maintenance, overhaul and repair services for the railway rolling stock.
Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite has been left with no choice but to resolutely respond to the reckless behaviour displayed by Abellio Scotrail management.
“While discussions have continued these talks have produced absolutely nothing. There has been no pay offer and no movement by the company.
“The talks have been spun out and cynically used as a delaying tactic to avoid the national embarrassment of having strike action during the COP26 climate change conference which is being held in Glasgow.
“Well, these tactics have spectacularly backfired because our engineering members will now hold several 24 hour stoppages in the coming weeks.”
“We want the Scottish public to know that we have exhausted the process. Unite’s members have been holding action short of strike in an attempt to get Abellio Scotrail to wake up, and to recognise the storm that they have created to no effect.
“Now strike action will severely disrupt events and the COP26 climate change conference due to this shambolic company.”
He added: “The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland must urgently intervene because the Abellio Scotrail management clearly lack the ability, humility and intelligence to live up to their responsibilities with respect to the workforce, and the Scottish public.”
ScotRail has been contacted for comment.