Rail union calls for meeting with First Minister over ScotRail

TSSA chief Manuel Cortes has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking for a meeting to discuss Abellio's controversial management of the ScotRail franchise.

ScotRail has been subject to heavy public and political criticism in recent months, with a series of delayed, overcrowded or cancelled services leaving passengers stranded.

Under the franchise agreement, Abellio can incur penalties for poor performance, however these have accounted for only 1 per cent of its whopping £1 billion tax payer subsidy.

The company has also failed to deliver promises it made the Scottish Government in its 10 year contract on issues such as flexible ticketing.

Despite this the franchise, run by Dutch company Abellio, reported a profit in 2018 - a year the TSSA say the franchise experienced "record breaking" poor performance.

In February this year, disabled passengers campaigner Arthur Cowie quit after decades campaigning for improvements for disabled passengers, saying recent actions by ScotRail and Transport Scotland made him feel he had "wasted his time".

Writing to the First Minister, Manuel Cortes accused the latest transport minister of allowing his "ideological commitment to running ScotRail as a gravy train for privatised interests" to get in the way of his duties.

Cortes praised the previous transport secretary, Humza Yousaf, who he said took a "smart and pragmatic" approach to improving the service for passengers.

He added: “ScotRail’s performance is the worst now since records began in 1997. And with fare prices rising every year, and tax-payer subsidies higher now than they were pre-privatisation, Scottish passengers will rightly feel they’re being ripped off.

"TSSA is the union representing rail professionals. We want to share our expertise with Nicola Sturgeon and work with her to protect ScotRail from further deterioration."

Nicola Sturgeon is yet to respond.

Image: James Anderson 

 

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