TSSA: Scotrail Taking Industrial Relations Back to the Victorian Era
The transport union TSSA has accused Scotrail of purposefully allowing relations with the union to deteriorate, as they asked Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to meet with them to resolve safety issues on the railways.
TSSA members working within CCTV Control have voted by two thirds for strike action after Abellio, the Dutch rail company operating Scotrail, decided to slash jobs by 25%, weaken specialised training, and alter the terms and conditions of the workers they retained.
These changes are not just a step back for workers’ rights - they also present a clear and present danger to the health and safety of passengers. TSSA have warned that those left monitoring CCTV are too overstretched to carry out their job safely. This should worry anyone who travels frequently on Scotland’s railways. Management have compounded the problem by insisting on compulsory night shifts for all staff, despite this being shown to significantly increase health risks.
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of TSSA, is leading a delegation to Aviemore next week to seek support from the STUC for strike action. He has invited Yousaf to come and talk to his members, in the hope that the Scottish government will attempt to resolve the growing crisis.
Commenting on the dispute, Cortes said:
"The SNP is letting ScotRail get away with taking industrial relations in Scotland back to the Victorian era. It is bad enough they ignored all warnings about letting one quarter of specialist CCTV staff depart at once. But now they have a needless crisis of their making, their solution is to stretch staff further by imposing compulsory night shifts on them. It's not just a ludicrous way to treat safety critical staff, it's downright dangerous.
"They are ignoring the fact that the remaining trained staff and those drafted in to bridge the gap have family lives and can't simply leave their children home alone at night or meet other family and home commitments just to suit draconian company rosters. And of course, if people haven't signed on to work nights, then they shouldn't be forced to.
"Humza's no mug. He'll get that Abellio's top team are digging another hole as they desperately try to rectify their mistake. Our pleas with Abellio to see reason and prioritise safety and respect good industrial relations practices have so far fallen on deaf ears. So, time for Humza to step in and remind Abellio the first rule when you find yourself in a hole: stop digging!
"Our members are responsible for guarding the safety of Scotland's 10,000 miles of track, it's stations, depots, sidings and so on. They are a vital part of the country's embedded counter-terrorism strategy. You'd have thought Abellio would have let them be. But their continuous cost-cutting measures are now beyond dangerous.”