Train drivers offered improved pay deal in bid to end ScotRail crisis

Train drivers have been offered an improved pay deal in a bid to end the ScotRail crisis.
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Drivers union Aslef said it will consult its members after a day of negotiations ended with a 4.2 per cent offer and a package of improved conditions.

It comes after Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar insisted government ministers should “hand back the keys” to their chauffeur-driven cars until they sort out the disruption.

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He hit out at the lack of replacement bus services after a third of train services were slashed in Scotland.

Picture: John DevlinPicture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin

ScotRail, nationalised in April, cut more than 700 services across the country on Monday due to deadlock discussions with Aslef.

Drivers have refused to work overtime and on rest days because of an unresolved pay dispute.

They previously rejected a 2.2 per cent increase offer, with the option of a revenue share agreement which would have taken the package to five per cent.

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Aslef's Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay said: "Aslef entered these talks in good faith.

"We have negotiated a pay offer of 4.2 per cent, a three-year no compulsory redundancy deal and a number of other improvements.

"These will now be put to our members for their consideration."

It is understood this process could take three to four weeks.

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The development comes after transport minister Jenny Gilruth said she hoped there would be an announcement about the return of some services shortly.

Earlier, Deputy First Minister John Swinney was challenged on the provision of trains for fans going to and from Scotland’s key World Cup qualifier against Ukraine next week at Hampden.

The much-anticipated tie could book Steve Clarke’s team a place in Qatar this winter, but Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross raised concerns about transport to the Glasgow stadium as Mr Swinney stood in for Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions while she recovers from Covid.

Mr Swinney said: “Obviously, we want to see more services in place to deal with the Ukraine match and I’m very confident that ScotRail will have in place additional services to ensure that the specific requirements of accessing Hampden will be addressed as part of that process and there will be announcements made in due course.”

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Speaking during FMQs, Mr Sarwar accused the Scottish Government of “leaving people stranded with no public transport and asking them to use gas-guzzling vehicles instead”.

He said this left "tens of thousands of people struggling to get to and from work”, adding: “While this Deputy First Minister and his colleagues have 28 chauffeur-driven cars, costing over £1 million to get them to and from their work, this SNP/Green Government is cutting a thousand rail services a day, offering no replacement bus services and forcing people to work hours just to pay for a taxi home.

“Shouldn’t he and every other minister hand back the keys to their chauffeur-driven cars until they get this sorted and get Scotland moving again?"

Mr Swinney said the Government is providing practical help during the cost-of-living crisis.

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A spokesman for the First Minister later said Government ministers would not be giving up their cars.

He said: “Ministers need to get around as part of their job, so they’ll continue to do the job in the way that they usually do it.”