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Swinney accused of ‘behaving like a Tory’ in ScotRail dispute

SNP First Minister John Swinney was accused today of “behaving like a Tory” after ScotRail timetables were torn up as the pay dispute on Scotland’s railways deepens.

All rail trade unions — Aslef, RMT, TSSA and Unite — have rejected the Scottish government-owned employer’s sub-inflation wage offer of 2 per cent backdated to April, followed by 1 per cent from January and in the subsequent two years, in line with Scottish government public-sector pay policy.

Amid an ongoing overtime ban by Aslef train drivers, ScotRail’s Mark Ilderton announced a temporary timetable on Tuesday cutting hundreds of services.

But his statement that the company remained “fully committed to further discussions” with unions was challenged Aslef’s Kevin Lindsay.

He said: “Rather than slashing the timetable in an act of economic vandalism that will impact towns and cities across Scotland as well as Scotland’s rail passengers, ScotRail and the Scottish government must get serious about pay and urgently get back round the negotiating table with a serious and credible offer.

“The Scottish government is currently taking a fantasy land approach to industrial relations on our railways.

“After his humbling result in last week’s election Mr Swinney said that he would listen and learn lessons.

“He seems to have his hands cupped to his ears when it comes to listening to Scotland’s train drivers. 

“We are saying loud and clear to him and his government to stop behaving like a Tory first minister, and get back round the negotiating table with a credible pay offer for our members.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson responded: “ScotRail, as a public body and the employer, has responsibility and the ability to negotiate within the limits of public-sector pay metrics.

“Any offer beyond these requires Scottish government approval.”

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