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Sturgeon trying to pass the buck over ScotRail - Cortes

3 April 2019

TSSA has today condemned First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, for trying to “pass the buck” over ScotRail and accuses her of not taking the crisis at ScotRail seriously.

The angry rebuke comes after she snubbed TSSA leader, Manuel Cortes who had reached out to Sturgeon in the hope of a collaborative interface with her and his ScotRail members - who count among their number some of the most senior rail staff in Scotland.

Prompted by their genuine concern for the sustainability of ScotRail's current direction, Cortes wrote to the First Minister on 21st March calling for “friendly exploratory talks about how TSSA as the union representing rail professionals and you as government can help support our rail industry from further decline.”

But the request has been flatly turned down. Instead she directed him to attend one of the quarterly meetings with Transport Minister, Michael Matheson whom Cortes has previously described as "not fit for purpose," because of an “ideological commitment to maintaining passenger rail services in Scotland as a service for privatised interests.”

Said Cortes: “I'm not in the business of seeking toadying meetings with the First Minister. I did so at the behest of my members who are fed up at being shackled by an incompetent Abellio business plan. So she's not just snubbing me, she's offending her own public service staff.

"If I'd thought the forum for airing my members’ concerns was a routine meeting, that's where I’d have gone. Our union is perfectly well equipped to tell Matheson where the solutions to the crisis at ScotRail are, the problem is him. He does not listen.

“ScotRail is in deep crisis. And mark my words, though it’s no fault of Scotland this Tory Brexit crisis is going to make matters worse at ScotRail. The company is desperate for a bespoke solution, that’s discussed properly and in depth with someone with the power and the will to make changes.

"Fobbing me off to a general meeting on Transport where ScotRail will be lucky to get ten minutes of Matheson's attention is an indication she is not taking the crisis at ScotRail seriously. But he’s presided over ScotRail’s worst year of service since 1997. So it's time to speak to the organ grinder not the monkey!

“I urge her to reconsider. Scotland rail workforce and its passengers sed her to get a grip of the situation. Delivering a better train service for Scottish passengers remains our union’s priority. Sadly it seems that, despite being First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is refusing to take charge and would rather pass the buck!”

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