ScotRail strikes during COP26 avoided after pay deal struck

Threatened ScotRail strikes during the COP26 climate change conference from Monday were averted tonight after the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said it had settled its long-running pay dispute.

The RMT had threatened to strike from 1-12 November. Picture: John Devlin

It will also mean an end to the Sunday strikes which have seen most ScotRail trains cancelled since March.

The union said a 2.5 per cent, one-year increase backdated to April had been agreed.

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It had proposed the deal minutes before ScotRail’s 5pm deadline for accepting its previous offer.

The settlement also includes three hours’ extra pay for rest day working (days off) and a £300 COP26 payment.

ScotRail had offered a two-year deal, tied to productivity improvements, of 2.5 per cent this year and 2.2 per cent from next April.

The RMT said the settlement agreed did not include any of the proposed productivity changes, such as more use of digital technology and fewer face-to-face briefings.

However, the deal is significantly less than the demand for a one-year, 4.9 per cent increase made by the RMT in an interview on BBC Scotland yesterday.

The RMT had called 12 days of strikes from Monday to coincide with the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties summit.

They were likely to have caused major disruption because ScotRail had said it would only have been able to run services on a secondary Edinburgh-Glasgow line, and a shuttle to the conference venue.

An industry source said: “The RMT was demanding 4.9 per cent yesterday, so a good outcome for passengers, staff and taxpayers.

"The days of above inflation pay rises are over.

"ScotRail revenue is still 50 per cent of that pre-pandemic.”

However, RMT Scottish organiser Mick Hogg told our sister title, The Scotsman: “This meets my members aspirations and delivers fairness and justice."

General secretary Mick Lynch told union members: "By accepting the offer, ScotRail stated that it would mean all current disputes between your union and the company would be resolved and that all current and planned industrial action would be withdrawn immediately.

“I can advise you that the offer was put to your union’s AGM tonight and was accepted unanimously by delegates.

“The AGM congratulates you and I congratulate you on achieving this magnificent industrial victory and gaining a one-year pay deal and Rest Day Working Agreement without any preconditions and which banishes the previously stated productivity strings attached.”

ScotRail chief operating officer Ian McConnell said: “We have reached a pay agreement with the RMT trade union that resolves strike action.

“We look forward to Scotland’s Railway [ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland] playing its part in delivering a successful COP26 next week.”