TSSA industrial action ballot at ScotRail

Two Scotrail trains and buffers

Rail and transport union TSSA is to ballot members at ScotRail over the possibility of industrial action in an escalation of a dispute about on call working arrangements.

Longstanding union grievances about the nature of on call duties were supposed to be discussed via a joint working group as part of the 2021/22 pay award settlement with the company.

However, over a year on from the agreement no meetings have taken place despite repeated requests from the union. ScotRail has dragged its heels at every juncture on the matter with TSSA, leading the union to describe the company as “acting in bad faith”.

Ballots, for industrial action which if successful would see the withdrawal of all out of hours ‘on call duties’ are now being sent to dozens of members working in vital roles across Scotland’s railways.

These include Conductor Team Managers, Driver Team Managers, On Train Team Managers and Station Team Managers working at stations across Scotland including Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, Dumfries, Edinburgh Waverly, Glasgow Central and Queen Street, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Motherwell, Perth and Stirling.

TSSA expects the opening day of the ballot to be 21 November, running for three weeks.

Commenting, TSSA Organiser, Gary Kelly said: “We are now balloting members because ScotRail has failed to engage with us over our numerous concerns regarding the terms and conditions of on call duties.

“The company gave assurances as part of our pay deal a year ago that we would move forward with collective discussions. Clearly, they have no wish to do so, and we have now concluded they are acting in bad faith.

“Our members are vital to the running of the Scotland’s railways and deserve to be treated with respect by their employers over their legitimate grievances.

“Should our members decide, via the ballot, to withdraw their on-call duties this would lead to a scramble to cover gaps in out of hours on call rosters during the Christmas period.

“It would also leave ScotRail facing difficulties in the event of any incident or severe weather which could impact the safe running of the railways.

“Our union is always happy to discuss ways to find a reasonable solution, rather than taking industrial action, so the ball is now very much in ScotRail’s court.”

 The issues at the heart of the dispute stem largely from a lack of any policy document related to on call working but also include general unhappiness with the current Christmas and New Year public holiday arrangements.

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