Union threaten strike over ScotRail driver cover

A ScotRail train Image copyright PA Media
Image caption ScotRail says team managers will drive trains to avoid cancellations while recruitment takes place

A transport union is preparing a strike ballot in a row over train driver cover on ScotRail services.

The TSSA union has written to the railway operator warning of a "near complete breakdown of industrial relations" over the dispute.

It claims ScotRail changed contracts for driver team managers - responsible for training and monitoring drivers.

The change in terms to cover driver absences included a salary increase and a rest day working payment of £375.

The TSSA said it has implications for other workers and claims it was excluded from negotiations on the issue.

'Rightly furious'

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: "ScotRail wouldn't need to force driver train managers to cover shifts if they had employed enough drivers in the first place.

"As always Abellio [ScotRail] are trying to do things on the cheap and it's blowing up in their face.

"ScotRail has systematically and deliberately excluded our union from talks.

"We believe this is a cynical and deliberate attempt to undermine our union and deny our members their right to representation and a voice in their workplace.

"Our members are rightly furious. They are ready and determined to vote for strike action and I will have no hesitation in sending out the ballot papers if ScotRail don't come back to the negotiating table with us."

Mr Cortes has called for transport secretary Michael Matheson to intervene.

A ScotRail spokesman said: "We've been hiring qualified and trainee train drivers to help us make Scotland's railway better.

"While this recruitment and training takes place, we have agreed that our driver team managers will drive trains to avoid cancellations.

"The investment we are making to recruit more drivers is helping us significantly to enhance the day-to-day running of services for our customers."

Last month ScotRail said more trains are running on time and fewer services are being cancelled, three months after being served with a remedial notice and agreeing an improvement plan with the Scottish government.

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