ScotRail services are still reduced after strikes due to continued driver shortages


Although the current RMT strike has ended, ScotRail will continue to operate on a reduced schedule due to driver shortages.

Driver shortages are a nationwide problem and have been caused by the delay in training due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Until recently, ScotRail relied on conductors working on their days off, but train conductors are now refusing overtime due to a pay dispute with ASLEF.

ASLEF, which is the drivers’ union, has been pushing for better wages amid inflation, and although the most recent proposal shows promising signs, services will not immediately return to normal.

The latest offer from ScotRail and the Scottish Government has seen pay rise by 5% as well as improved offers on pay for rest days.

Drivers will also receive Sunday working allowances, driving instructor allowances, maternity pay and a five-year extension of compulsory non-dismissal.

Due to current shortages, ScotRail introduced a temporary timetable in May which saw around 700 services cut and many routes ending earlier than usual.

Customers are advised to plan ahead and should consider alternative options where possible.

The schedule, while still in place, was extended earlier this month.

David Simpson, ScotRail’s Director of Service Delivery, said: “Although managing a temporary schedule is frustrating, it is encouraging that we have made progress with the driver compensation discussions, and I am delighted that we can extend the use of night services for customers.”

He added: “The temporary schedule provides clients with greater certainty and reliability as we seek to reach an agreement with ASLEF.”

When will hours return to normal?

Following the latest offer Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s Scottish organiser, said: “We are pleased that today significant progress has been made in our latest round of talks with ScotRail.”

The union has agreed that the Scottish government’s proposed offer with improved pay and working conditions will be put to members in a ballot, which will not be completed until July.

“The ballots will come out next week and the result will be announced on July 11,” Lindsay said in early June.

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With that in mind, services are unlikely to be fully operational until early or mid-July if drivers accept the latest offer.

If the drivers don’t accept the offer, the process could continue through the summer.

Fresh RMT strikes are also raising concerns, with their general secretary Mick Lynch saying more strikes are to be expected if a deal is not reached with Network Rail and UK rail operators.

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