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TSSA invites Transport Minister to Aviemore for talks to resolve ScotRail security strike

13 April 2018

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes is calling on Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to meet him at the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Aviemore next week for talks to resolve ScotRail's ongoing CCTV staffing crisis.

TSSA members have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, with strikes scheduled to begin in May, after ScotRail's Abellio management have failed to take on and train enough specialist staff to replace the 17 out of 22 staff within CCTV Control they allowed to leave under voluntary severance at the end of last year.

TSSA warned management of the consequences of axing so many specialist staff. It has left the remaining staff too overstretched across rosters, too stressed and too tired to perform their jobs adequately and safely.

Management's solution to the crisis of their own making is to continue their programme of continuous - and says Cortes "dangerous" change. They are now attempting to impose a compulsory night shift on CCTV Control staff

Cortes is heading a TSSA delegation in Aviemore next week where his members will be calling on the STUC to support their strike action.

He is issuing an invitation to Minister Yousaf to meet the delegation and hear first-hand from his members about the devastating consequences ScotRail's new compulsory shift roots will have on his members’ family life.

Said Cortes, "The SNP is letting ScotRail get away with taking industrial relations in Scotland back to the Victorian era. It is bad enough they ignored all warnings about letting one quarter of specialist CCTV staff depart at once. But now they have a needless crisis of their making, their solution is to stretch staff further by imposing compulsory night shifts on them. It's not just a ludicrous way to treat safety critical staff, it's downright dangerous.

"They are ignoring the fact that the remaining trained staff and those drafted in to bridge the gap have family lives and can't simply leave their children home alone at night or meet other family and home commitments just to suit draconian company rosters. And of course, if people haven't signed on to work nights, then they shouldn't be forced to.

"Humza's no mug. He'll get that Abellio's top team are digging another hole as they desperately try to rectify their mistake. Our pleas with Abellio to see reason and prioritise safety and respect good industrial relations practices have so far fallen on deaf ears. So, time for Humza to step in and remind Abellio the first rule when you find yourself in a hole: stop digging!

"Our members are responsible for guarding the safety of Scotland's 10,000 miles of track, it's stations, depots, sidings and so on. They are a vital part of the country's embedded counter-terrorism strategy. You'd have thought Abellio would have let them be. But their continuous cost-cutting measures are now beyond dangerous.

"If Humza accepts my invitation to meet me in Aviemore at the STUC, it will be a sign to ScotRail's workers that he stands with them and their determination to provide a safe ScotRail rather than siding with bosses who want to tear apart the SNP's own code of good industrial relations practice.

Come on Humza, time for a gesture of good will to the men and women who keep ScotRail safe and passengers who expect a safety first railway. Order Abellio to settle this dispute or plunge us into a strike which nobody wants.

ends ==

Note to desks; The motion below is being submitted to STUC as an emergency motion to go before Congress next week.

Conference notes:
the ongoing dispute in Scotrail’s CCTV centres between the company and members of TSSA and RMT;
Abellio ScotRail are attempting to make night shifts compulsory - rather than voluntary as they are now - with just a miserly £30 extra a week in payments;
Members of TSSA and RMT have voted for industrial action in defence of their right to a reasonable work/life balance and for proper remuneration for working nights.
Conference acknowledges:
Night shifts are bad for workers’ health, increasing risk of heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes;
Night shifts are bad for workers’ family life, reducing the time workers can spend with their partners, or as parents, with their children;
CCTV Staff have already agreed to ScotRail’s demand to work Sunday shifts;
CCTV Staff are over-tired and stretched to breaking point following a reorganisation which reduced their number by 25%;
Despite warnings from unions that the reorganisation puts rail safety at peril and is also dangerous for the health of staff, Abellio has allowed CCTV staff who formerly covered night shifts to go.
Conference applauds:
TSSA and RMT members who voted to take industrial action to protect rail safety and their right to family-friendly hours.
Conference condemns:
Abellio ScotRail’s actions and calls on them to engage in meaningful negotiations with the trades unions to resolve the dispute.
Conference instructs:
STUC to lobby Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to intervene and stop ScotRail’s efforts to impose nightshifts on workers who simply can’t work them.

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