Train drivers’ union to recommend pay deal to members as dispute could soon end

·3-min read

The train drivers’ union will recommend its members accept a new 5% pay deal from ScotRail, raising hopes an ongoing pay dispute could soon end.

Aslef and the newly nationalised rail provider reached agreement following talks on Thursday.

The dispute meant a temporary timetable was put in place that saw more than 700 services cancelled.

The new offer would see pay increase by 5%, along with more money for rest day and Sunday working, driving instructor and maternity pay along with a policy of no compulsory redundancies for the next five years.

According to ScotRail, 2.2% of the increase will be funded by Transport Scotland with the remaining 2.8% coming from ScotRail’s coffers.

But issues on the rail network may continue in the coming weeks, with Aslef due to put the deal to its executive committee on Wednesday, before then going to its members, and ScotRail saying it could take as much as 10 days to return services to normal.

“We are pleased that today significant progress has been made in our latest round of talks with ScotRail,” said Kevin Lindsay, the union’s Scottish organiser.

He added: “All these proposals, we believe, represent a breakthrough and significant progress and is a recognition of the vital role our members play for society and the economy.

“The full Aslef negotiating team is recommending acceptance of the offer to our members through a referendum subject to executive committee approval.”

David Simpson, service delivery director at ScotRail, said: “We’ve made a really good offer which recognises the cost-of-living challenges faced by families across the country and delivers good value for the public.

“The feedback we’ve had from many drivers is that they recognise we have made a series of very good offers and we are pleased they will get a say in a referendum.

“The railway plays a vital role in growing the economy and connecting communities. Now more than ever we all need to work together to attract more people to the railway as we recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland added: “We welcome Aslef’s recognition of the very good offer on the table, an offer which is in part self-funded through increased revenue and roster flexibilities, and also that they will now take this to their members with a recommendation to accept”.

While Scottish Tory transport spokesman Graham Simpson, who said the news of the offer was positive, it had taken too long to get to this point.

He added: “Aslef must ballot their members as quickly as possible and, hopefully, they will rubber-stamp the deal.”

“I hope that the Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth can learn from this. She has been posted missing throughout and we run the risk of this happening every year if she continues to take the hands-off approach that she has.”

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