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TSSA lambast Abellio job loss scheme

14 November 2017

TSSA lambasts ScotRail for bullying workforce to volunteer to lose their jobs and SNP must step into save ScotRail from the latest Abellio crisis.

TSSA has responded angrily to being informed by ScotRail's franchise owners, Abellio, that they want our members to volunteer to give up their jobs across the services clerical and managerial grades.

Said TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes,

"Since the day Abellio took over the running of ScotRail the service has swung from crisis to crisis. Delays have become systemic. It's turned from a profit-making to a loss making business despite passenger revenues - because of rip-off ticket prices - running at an all time high. But news that they now want our members to volunteer to sacrifice their jobs to bail the company out of it's financial crisis is a new low, even for Abellio.

"According to the terms of its franchise, Abellio can't make compulsory redundancies but because they are slow to to fill job vacancies as staff leave, ScotRail is already running on overstretched rosters, and now they are sneaking round asking for volunteers to sell their jobs in return for a pay-off. This is not just a bribe, by announcing they want scalps Abellio are creating further uncertainty and are effectively bullying our members into jumping over the job cliff.

"It's also no way to run Scotland's railways. 'Volunteers' leaving under Voluntary Severance won’t be replaced meaning the customer will get a poorer service. An adding insult to industry Abellio's broad search means jobs will go willy-nilly and volunteers sacked wherever they raise their heads. There is nothing in place to stop say, all Scotland's rail traffic controllers volunteering to leave at once, or our signalling staff. Let me spell this out clearly how stupidly thought through Abellio's volunteer-to-lose-your-job/take-the-money and run deal is: it means ScotRail is losing the staff it needs to make the trains run.

"TSSA put Scotland on notice at the beginning of this year that Abellio could not be made fit for the purpose of running Scotland's railways. Passengers and public know it with our #publicScotRail petition gathered more than 20,000 signatures. The SNP know we have captured the public mood which is why Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, has been investigating how to break the franchise and comply with our demand to take ScotRail back into public ownership.

"I want Humza to stop dragging his political heels and do the right thing before more damage is done. Abellio know their days are numbered. Their search for people to commit job suicide across the board is looking like a scorched earth policy which will lay waste to the skilled and experienced staff Scotland badly needs to keep our trains running. It is an industrial strategy Scotland cannot afford.

"For the sake of Scottish passengers, for the sake Scotland's future, Humza simply can no longer put off the inevitable. Now is the time for hits finally stop Abellio in its tracks, take back the keys to ScotRail and save our specialist rail staff so we retain the skills to train up the next generation of rail workers and put passenger service, not repatriating profits to Holland, back at the heart of a public ScotRail. Abellio have shown they can’t manage Scotland’s railways. Privatisation isn't working. It’s time for Scotland to run our railways ourselves.”

TSSA is currently consulting with members following notice of the company's proposals to create a job loss scheme.

TSSA will also be publicly launching our joint report, written with think tank, Common Weal called, A Public Future For Scotland's Railways in Edinburgh on 28 November.

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