Rail Unions demand SNP halt police merger plan

Three of the UK's largest railway unions have joined forces in opposition to the SNP's planned merger of the British Transport Police and Police Scotland.

The RMT, TSSA and ASLEF have called on Michael Matheson to re-think the proposal and come back to the negotiation table with the workers.

The SNP had planned to merge both bodies by April 2019, but the date has been repeatedly delayed after the proposals were heavily criticised by analysts and the British Transport Police Federation.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth, said:

“Labour has consistently opposed this merger as it is unwanted, unnecessary and uncosted.

“The gravity of the situation is underlined by this coming together of three separate transport unions, all pleading with the new SNP Transport Minister Michael Matheson to pause and re-think this plan.

"As Justice Secretary, Mr Matheson backed the merger and allowed Humza Yousaf to try and drive through these changes.

“The summer recess gives Mr Matheson the opportunity to chart a different course for Scotland’s railways once he returns to Holyrood in his new role.

“Labour hopes that he listens to British Transport Police officers, and the rest of the industry, and bins this divisive policy.

Matheson has previously defended the plans, saying: "The Scottish and UK governments are working together to ensuring the legislation passed by Parliament last year is implemented as effectively as possible.

"The benefits of a single command structure and improved access to the full range of capabilities of Police Scotland will be delivered for railway policing, providing an enhanced service to both the rail industry and travelling public."

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