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TSSA warns ScotRail over ‘near complete breakdown of industrial relations’

TRANSPORT union TSSA has written to ScotRail warning of a “near complete breakdown of industrial relations” as the union prepares to ballot members over train driver cover.

The union says that the train operator has amended contracts for driver team managers, who are responsible for training drivers and monitoring the newly qualified, so they have to cover train drivers’ shifts.

A change to their terms to cover driver absences includes a salary increase and a rest-day working payment of £375.

This innovation has implications for other workers, yet it was excluded from negotiations on this and other issues, the union said.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “ScotRail wouldn’t need to force driver train managers to cover shifts if they had employed enough drivers in the first place.

“As always, Abellio [the Dutch company that owns ScotRail] are trying to do things on the cheap and it’s blowing up in their face.

“ScotRail has systematically and deliberately excluded our union from talks.

“We believe this is a cynical and deliberate attempt to undermine our union and deny our members their right to representation and a voice in their workplace.

“Our members are rightly furious. They are ready and determined to vote for strike action and I will have no hesitation in sending out the ballot papers if ScotRail don’t come back to the negotiating table with us.”

He called on Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson to intervene.

In a letter outlining members’ concerns and plans to ballot for industrial action, TSSA Scotland organiser Gary Kelly explained that there had been “a near complete breakdown of industrial relations” between the union and ScotRail.

He wrote: “TSSA believes that, by placing a contractual obligation on our members to cover the duties and responsibilities of an entirely separate grade (drivers), ScotRail are both undermining our own members grade and, by compelling non-driver grades to drive trains, are eroding the collective bargaining strength of our sister union Aslef.”

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