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RAIL union RMT celebrated victory today after accepting a pay deal with ScotRail that averted strike action hitting Scotland’s train services throughout the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
However, union leaders called on rail privateer Serco to improve its pay offer to Caledonian Sleeper workers so that separate strike action does not go ahead.
RMT representatives announced on Wednesday night that industrial action, which begun on Scotland’s train operator in March, had been called off after negotiations ended in an agreement.
Strike action lasting 13 days had been due to coincide with Cop26.
However, RMT said that last-minute negotiations on pay and conditions had been successful, with general secretary Mick Lynch confirming that an offer had been accepted unanimously.
The deal meets the union’s demands for a 2.5 per cent pay rise backdated to April and a £300 Cop26 payment to all staff.
A three-hour book-on allowance for each rest day worked, applicable for 12 months from the date of the agreement, is also part of the deal.
In a letter to members following the union’s AGM, Mr Lynch said that the RMT was proud to have secured the agreement.
He said: “It was noted that it was only through the tremendous determination of you and your colleagues throughout this dispute, through the efforts of your representatives, activists and negotiators, that this result was achieved.”
Following the announcement, ScotRail said that it looked forward to the conference’s success, while Transport Minister Graeme Dey, who had faced calls to resign over the pay dispute, said that workers were getting the rise they deserve.
The RMT called on Serco to follow suit and offer improved pay and conditions, arguing that the ScotRail success proved that such a deal was possible.
Caledonian Sleeper staff will go on strike this weekend and stay out throughout Cop26, but the RMT is calling for urgent talks while a window of opportunity remains to negotiate a just settlement.
Mr Lynch said: “The Sleeper is the green alternative to the pollution of short-haul flights and it would be a travesty if the staff delivering it were kicked in the teeth and shut out in the cold during Cop26.
“There can be no climate justice without workplace justice and we want Serco back at the table today with a clear instruction from their political paymasters to get this last remaining Scottish rail dispute settled sharpish.”
Kathryn Darbandi, managing director for Serco Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Caledonian Sleeper is aware of the settlement that has been reached at ScotRail with the support of the Scottish Government and we continue to be open to further discussions.”
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