10.6.22 Update

Following constructive talks between Scotrail and Aslef, a new deal has been negotiated which Aslef will recommend to their members next week. As reported yesterday, Kevin Lindsay, Aslef’s Scotland organiser, said:

‘We are pleased that, today, significant progress has been made in our latest round of talks with ScotRail. The offer on pay has been increased to 5% and we have received improved offers on pay for rest day working, Sunday working allowances, driving instructor allowances, maternity pay and an extension of no compulsory redundancies for five years. There has also been an improved proposal around the non-consolidated revenue scheme.

‘All these proposals, we believe, represent a breakthrough and significant progress and is a recognition of the vital role our members play for society and the economy.’

I congratulate Scotrail and Aslef on this settlement. Scotrail have indicated it will take up to 10 days for the full timetable to be reinstated.

Sadly, there is other industrial action on a UK level heading towards us. Let’s hope negotiators in other parts of the UK are able to broker a meaningful deal with the RMT Union, in the way that Scotrail and Aslef have shown to be possible.


Posted on 24.5.22

Constituents have understandably been raising with me the disruption and distress that the current reduction in train services is causing. I am extremely sympathetic and will raise the issue with the Scottish Government at every opportunity.

By way of background, Scotrail has announced plans to run a temporary timetable from 23 May to provide a more reliable service for passengers. This decision has been made necessary because some train drivers, as part of a pay dispute, are not taking up the option of overtime, Sunday and rest-day working.

Scotrail consulted with Transport Focus, the organisation that represents passengers, and decided to introduce a temporarily reduced timetable that could be guaranteed, in preference to unplanned cancellations.

Obviously, this situation is highly disruptive and completely unacceptable.

Scotrail’s focus is to reinstate the full timetable as soon as possible and I know that the Scottish Government will do everything that it can to support that outcome.

There are two things that need to happen. All parties need to get round the table and negotiate a fair, affordable pay deal. And Scotrail needs to continue its work to recruit more drivers so that reliance on rest-day working is reduced and eventually eliminated. Currently there are 1168 drivers with a further 55 being fully trained by the end of the year; 100 by June 2023. It should be noted that there was good work going on before the pandemic to train new drivers but this was interrupted due to social distancing rules which meant two people could not be in a cabin together. This training programme has now resumed.

Scotrail station teams are on hand to highlight alternatives to passengers, where these are available and might be met by cross-border operators. The temporary timetable arrangements will be reviewed on 3 June.

I understand that ScotRail has opened talks today, 24 May, with the rail trade union ASLEF to seek a resolution to this damaging dispute. I urge them to work tirelessly to reach a fair and affordable settlement as soon as possible.

Don’t hesitate to contact me for further information or if I can be of assistance.