Strikes affecting transportation in the North East of Scotland
By Megan Widley
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) members have conducted strikes all throughout October and the beginning of November this year. Thus far, strikes have taken place on the 10th and 29th of October.
This came after a pay dispute between ScotRail and employees. ScotRail made a proposal of a 5% increase in pay which the union rejected, instead demanding that a better offer be proposed. RMT members were told to not work any overtime, or on rest days, such as Sundays. Following this, the 24-hour strikes took place.
ScotRail set out a travel advisory, suggesting that passengers only travel if necessary during planned industrial action days, whilst customers could claim a full refund on unused tickets with no administration fee.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch stated: ‘ScotRail knows this offer is not good enough and needs to take into account the escalating cost of living crisis. Our members refuse to be made poorer and will exercise their industrial strength to let ScotRail know that they will not rest until they are paid what they deserve.’
However, the strikes have caused disturbance throughout Scotland, particularly in the North-East. Some students at Aberdeen University have claimed that the strikes have interrupted their studies as the train is their only mode of transport to get to class on time.
One second year student said “I rely on trains most days. I was affected by the train strikes pretty badly, not being able to get home until very late because I had to rely on buses, which were mostly fully booked due to the strikes.”
In recent developments, a meeting was held on Thursday the 10th of November between the RMT’s National Executive Committee and ScotRail. A decision has been made that ScotRail’s new pay offer will be decided upon through a referendum by the RMT members. The strikes on overtime, as well as the planned strike dates for the 19th of November and weekends in December are currently suspended and will be reviewed after the vote has taken place.
However, RMT said Monday that further industrial action should be expected after train companies failed to offer written proposals after two weeks of meetings.
RMT describe themselves as ‘a progressive, democratic and highly professional trade union, a fast-growing union with more than 83,000 members from almost every sector of the transport industry.’ Their main policy as a union is to help improve the pay and conditions of their members.
ScotRail have stated that they ‘remain open to resolving this dispute.’