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ScotRail - Vote for More Industrial Action 

25 January 2019

TSSA is calling on Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon to put Abellio ScotRail into special measures after a vote by the company's Station Managers to take industrial action in yet another dispute about lack of staff. and a Which? survey shows passenger satisfaction continuing to plummet.

The rail network’s Station Managers have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action as a result of a staffing crisis which has been allowed to develop in their ranks and is making it increasingly difficult for them to maintain basic overnight rail safety requirements.

 

The Station Team Managers will withdraw from overnight on-call rosters which will leave Abellio unable to meet basic overnight safety requirements across Scotland's railway stations unless the company quickly come up with a new staffing plan.

A clear mandate for action by station bosses is unusual and comes because they are unhappy with new working practices imposed on them by Abellio in April last year.

A short fall of staff means too few staff are now undertaking too many overnight on-call roster duties across now larger geographic patches making it increasing difficult for them to respond to emergency situations. Continuing to maintaining the adequate overnight on-call system needed to keep Scotland's stations clearly and safely managed outwith normal operational hours in the manner is not possible.

Further pressure is being heaped upon them to undertake non-emergency call outs because job losses imposed by Abellio across other parts of the company means a redirection of work to their team. Over the last quarter their efforts to resolve matters have failed and now patience and good will has run out.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes said: "Our Station Team Manager members are proud railway people. They are dedicated professionals and they have been doing their best to keep their public service safety bargain with passengers.

“Our members should be given a medal for the extra hours they have put in and the extra strain they have absorbed trying to cope with the Abellio-made staffing crisis. But they are being stretched literally just too thinly across the station network.

"Abellio can only be congratulated for pushing the most company loyal of staff to the end of their tether. Our members do not want to make passengers lives anymore miserable than it currently is on ScotRail by taking industrial action.

“The Station Team Managers make sure that tens of thousands of passengers can travel safely to major events across Glasgow from the Hydo, Secc and Celtic Park and are aware of the impact that any industrial action will have but will do what is necessary to protect the integrity of the railway.

"But by withdrawing from their overnight on call rosters, stations will not be able to meet safety requirements and so services will be adversely affected - particularly first thing in the morning. Our members have been taken for a ride for far too long and are no longer willing to take on all and sundry"

"ScotRail’s bad management means is looms from crisis to crisis. And morale of the workforce is now rock bottom. It's high time Nicola Sturgeon took ScotRail into her personal remit. Neither her Transport Minister Michael Matheson nor its £260k a year MD deserve a penny of their pay-packets for the mess they are making with a once fine rail service.

"South of the border unions are meeting Tory Prime Ministers to advise to on how to keep workers on board over Brexit. I'm more than happy to come to Holyrood to meet Nicola, But I can tell her now how to keep our members from taking yet more industrial action at ScotRail. Treat them decently and employ enough staff to meet roster and safety requirements.

"And reintroduce the penalties for poor performance that Matheson banned or put ScotRail into special measures. Scotland's rail workers want to do a decent job, but hapless Abellio is getting in their way."

In the Which? Annual Passenger Survey ScotRail notes a growing distrust in ScotRail which notched a customer score of just 45 per cent - down by 5% from last year.

ScotRail is suffering from staff shortages following Abeliio's imposition of a company-wide Voluntary Severance schema in January 2018.

TSSA warned at the time that this policy was an indiscriminate axing of jobs which would store up problems for the future safe management of the network.

 

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