Labour and Unions rally to urge SNP to halt "industrial vandalism" of Glasgow Rail works
Officials from Scotland's rail unions, the RMT and Unite, are demanding the Scottish Government step in to halt the closure of Scotland's last remaining rail works in Glasgow.
The St Rollox depot in Springburn is set to close this month after the owners, Gemini Rail Services announced plans to close the works, and move the repairs and maintenance of Scotland’s rail stock to England.
The plans would see the loss of almost 200 highly skilled jobs at The Caley depot.
Members from Unite and the RMT held a rally outside of Holyrood this afternoon, ahead of a Members Debate initiated by Glasgow Labour MSP James Kelly on the issue.
Mr Kelly is demanding the SNP take the depot into public ownership as part of the national transport infrastructure, pointing to the precedent set by action taken to save Prestwick airport in 2013 by the SNP administration.
Springburn’s closure is currently under a 45-day consultation period, while a spokesperson from Gemini said the firm was “suffering unsustainable losses” at the depot, and could no longer afford to keep the works open.
In a statement, Mr. Kelly told reporters: “The Scottish Government could today intervene these 200 highly-skilled jobs. Trade unions have set out practical and straightforward plans to safeguard the site which would keep the ScotRail work in Scotland."
He warned it would be "unforgivable" if the government failed to "step in and protect workers".
“Ministers must listen to the voices of those set to lose their job and announce a course of action to save this historic depot."
The RMT's General Secretary Mick Cash added: “The planned closure of the Springburn Rail Depot in Glasgow is an act of industrial vandalism that will not go unchallenged and RMT is calling for the broadest possible campaign to halt these proposals in their tracks."
“The skills set that our members at Springburn possess is simply irreplaceable and, without action from politicians and governments in both Edinburgh and Westminster, would be lost forever."
The Scottish Government's Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson has said he will consider taking action to help electrify the route into the works as a possible solution, while local SNP MSP Bob Doris called for the owners to extend the 45 day consultancy period to allow for more time before redundancies are made.
Mr. Doris said: “I am very pleased the Scottish Government is actively considering my suggestion that electrification can lower business costs and diversify the kind of work that could be undertaken at St Rollox."
“I was also encouraged to hear that there has been some interest in the site – though I understand development of a sustainable business model will take time."
“With this in mind, I would like to reaffirm my call for the current owner, Gemini, to extend the 45 day consultation on redundancies."
“The Managing Director of Gemini has promised to consider this request, but the clock is ticking.”