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WORKERS at Glasgow’s famous Springburn rail depot lobbied MSPs today to save their jobs and “160 years of railway history.”
Ahead of a debate led by Labour MSP James Kelly, members of the RMT and Unite unions gathered at Holyrood to call on the Scottish government to intervene.
The Springburn depot carries out servicing, maintenance, repairs, overhauls and upgrades of ScotRail trains.
Gemini Rail, the current owner of the works, claims it is losing money and the depot is no longer viable.
However RMT regional organiser Mick Hogg fiercely disputed this at today’s rally, saying Gemini’s profit margins showed it was an “absolute fallacy” based on “the economics of the madhouse.”
He told the Star: “What we are saying to the Scottish government and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson is to intervene now. The clock is ticking.
“If the Transport Secretary doesn’t intervene now we are going to lose 200 jobs and 160 years of railway history.”
Unite shop steward Daryl Steel said: “It’s quite obvious the current owner is no longer interested. We’re looking for the Scottish government to intervene.”
He suggested that the Scottish government or Network Rail could step in to save the works initially, and it could then be used by ScotRail for stabling trains.
“They could step in in the medium term, with a view to passing it on to someone who is interested.”
Labour MP Paul Sweeney, who represents Springburn at Westminster, said that “what we’re asking for is not radical” in light of the works’ previous public ownership under British Rail.
He said that it was time for the SNP administration to “put its money where its mouth is” and demonstrate its commitment to Scottish industry.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash added: “The skills that our members at Springburn possess is simply irreplaceable and, without action from politicians and governments in both Edinburgh and Westminster, would be lost forever.
“This is just another example of the fragmentation of the privatised rail industry where prime assets are passed from one speculative owner to another.
“RMT will stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who is willing to join us in the campaign to save the Springburn Depot and ensure that skilled railway work continues to be carried out in Scotland.”
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