Oban Sunday rail services hit by strikes until September

Oban railway station.

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Ongoing industrial action will continue to wipe out Sunday services on the West Coast Main Line between Glasgow Queen Street and Oban until ‘at least’ September 5.

RMT union members remain in dispute with Abellio, the operators of ScotRail, over what it describes as a ‘long running battle for pay justice and equality’.

But ScotRail has called for the strikes to be called off, saying industrial action during a pandemic is ‘reckless and wrong’.

The stand-off has dragged on since March and affected the availability of trains on Sundays, with conductors and ticket examiners taking action.

On the National Rail Enquiries website no trains are available between Oban and Glasgow Queen Street on the remaining two Sundays on July 18 or July 25.

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: ‘More than three months into these disputes our members are showing incredible resilience despite Abellio refusing to meet us with the apparent support of Transport Scotland and the SNP leadership‎.

‘It is a scandal on Scotland’s railways that is frankly shameful.

‘The loyal, hard-working Scotrail staff who have stood firm in this fight for basic pay justice and equality deserve better than to be snubbed by both their employer and Scotland’s political elite. They should have the common decency to start talking to us with a clear view to mapping out a fair solution to these long-running disputes.’

A ScotRail spokesperson said: ‘The RMT union’s strike action during a pandemic is wrong, and it should be called off.

‘The financial position of the business has been made absolutely clear, and during the pandemic there have been enormous losses made that have been covered by the Scottish Government.

‘ScotRail’s position on increasing overtime pay by 50 per cent for working the same number of hours will not change.’

‘We are seeing a gradual, but significant, increase in the number of customers returning to the railway due to the easing of travel restrictions and coronavirus controls, and this is not the time to put that recovery in jeopardy.’

‘Railway jobs are being put at risk by the reckless actions of the RMT and we are urging union bosses to call off these divisive strikes.’

Only recently, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was quizzed about the action.

She said: ‘I do not want to see strike action being taken anywhere across the country and I do not want to see it being taken on rail services either.

‘It is really important that the employer tries to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

‘Collective bargaining rests with the operator and the trade unions concerned. I know that the transport minister has agreed to meet with trade union representatives later this month to discuss their concerns in more detail, and I hope that we will see a resolution as quickly as possible.

‘Over the months to come, we will be doing work to take Scotrail into public ownership, which will bring a range of different benefits to people across the country.’