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Trade unions accuse Sturgeon of inaction over closure of historic railway works in Glasgow

TRADE unions hit back at Nicola Sturgeon last night after she claimed that the Scottish government had done everything it could to save a historic railway works in Glasgow.

The First Minister was met on the campaign trail by former workers at the St Rollox Caley rail works.

The site in Springburn closed its doors in July with the loss of 180 jobs, ending more than 150 years of industrial history.

Trade unions called for the SNP government to bring the site under public control, but bosses from Gemini Rail, which operated the works, shut it down after a prolonged battle.

Protesters quizzed the SNP leader over her government’s record of failing to bring at-risk industrial sites under public ownership, with Ms Sturgeon denying claims that she has refused to meet with workers.

Those in Springburn said: “Nicola Sturgeon shame on you."

Responding, the First Minister said: “I know you wanted us to save it.

“We looked closely at all of the options. You know that when it came to Ferguson, BiFab, where we can save a plant, we do save a plant.

“So why do you think if there had been a way to do it we wouldn’t have done it?”

However, her comments angered those who defended workers at the Caley and fought for it to remain open.

Unite regional industrial officer Pat McIlvogue was one of those who ran the Rally Roon the Caley campaign.

He said: “The words of the First Minister are very cold comfort to our members at the Caley.

“The First Minister stood by and allowed the Transport Minister Michael Matheson to repeatedly excuse inaction by stating the Scottish government couldn’t intervene.

“Now more than half of our nation’s heavy rail Infrastructure is now closed thanks to this inaction and we cannot maintain our trains — how is that standing up for Scotland?”

The RMT union’s Mick Hogg also dismissed Ms Sturgeon’s claims as a “fallacy” and described the closure as “industrial vandalism.”

He added: “We now have a situation where Scotland's trains are getting sent south of the border to get maintained.

“It makes an absolute mockery of the Scottish government’s ‘climate emergency.’ Absolute nonsense.”

The SNP government was approached for comment by the Morning Star.

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