ScroogeRail Having Workers' Christmas Cake and Eating It

Scot Rail train in station

TSSA has branded Scotland's railway "ScroogeRail" as members at ScotRail are told to be available for work at a moment's notice on Christmas and New Year's Day without any uplift to wages.

Staff working in offices and depots on Christmas Day can choose to receive double time and an extra day off or triple time. But some are sent home after being told that they are “not required” yet are expected to remain contactable and ready for work if called without being offered the enhanced rate. Rules for those staff include not being able to travel to visit family or have a drink.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said, “ScroogeRail are trying to have their Christmas cake and eat it. On the one hand they want our members to be available for work at a moment’s notice – unable to relax, visit family or have a drink. On the other hand, they don’t want to pay them extra for their sacrifice.

“We’ve written to the company asking them to reconsider this position – but ScotRail dismissed our request, and even threatened staff with disciplinary action if they switch their phones off!

“It’s really simple – either you’re working or you’re not. If you’re working you should receive the rate of pay for working. If you’re not you should be free to relax, have a drink and spend time with your family – subject to covid safety of course.”

Affected grades are operational supervisors and managers, such as Operational Supervisor, Operations Team Manager and ScotRail Operations Manager

The relevant agreement states the following:

"6.2 Public Holidays

Two public holidays shall be recognised - Christmas Day & New Years Day. Individuals may opt for payment for hours worked on these days as follows :

(1) Triple time with no resultant lieu leave


(2) Double time and a day in lieu

A principal of voluntary working where possible, followed by a rota rostered arrangement if not, shall apply."

The normal arrangement for a bank or public holiday is that if staff are required to work, they receive the rate of pay for the job which, in this case, would be triple time or double time and a day in lieu.

However, if the place of work is closed the employer would normally, depending on the contract, either request that the employee takes annual leave or utilises their public holiday entitlement in order to receive payment for these days. In both cases the employee is not contactable and free to spend their time how they choose.

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