RMT votes for ScotRail strike action over plans to make two Glasgow lines 'driver-only'

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 05:  ScotRail trains operated by Abellio arrive and depart for Glasgow Central station on December 5, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Scottish Government has met passenger groups, unions and political parties to discuss options for bringing Scotlands railways into public ownership.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ScotRail in Glasgow will face strikes later this month -Credit:Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members have voted for strike action over plans to make two Glasgow train lines "driver-only".

Union members overwhelming voted in favour of a walk out over proposals to change control of trains from conductors to drivers on the Glasgow-East Kilbride and Glasgow-Barrhead line.

Conductors who control doors are to be replaced with ticket examiners who have no role in operating the trains.

The RMT says the newly proposed system would mean "the driver taking responsibility for despatch and a second member of staff rostered on every service".

But it argues that the "driver-only operation" (DOO) means that there is no longer a guarantee of a second member of staff on board.

RMT members will strike on services across the south-side of Glasgow on the weekends of May 18-19, 25-26 and June 1-2.

Union organiser Mick Hogg said: "This dispute is all about safety.

"We have been fighting against driver only operations. ScotRail is hellbent on creating a dispute which is not needed.

"The driver should be able to focus on what is in front of them. To ensure safety, the guard on the train need to be a conductor who is manning the doors.

"That is the problem and we have been pretty consistent with this."

The "driver-only" trains are already in place on some ScotRail services which have recently been made electric.

But the operator was forced to chuck plans to extend this other new electric lines after RMT strikes in 2016. This included the main Glasgow to Edinburgh line.

The Glasgow-Barrhead line is already electric, but the Glasgow-East Kilbride line will not be electric for a few years.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail Customer Operations Director, said:

“We’re extremely disappointed that RMT members have voted for industrial action that will be disruptive for our customers.

“We have been clear that our proposals mean nobody will lose their job, there will be no changes to existing terms and conditions, and colleagues will continue to work from the same depot. This is a dispute about which member of our on-train staff opens and closed train doors.

“This proposal will allow us to provide a better service to our customers.”

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