Strike over spread of driver only trains suspended but disagreements continue
ACTIVISTS involved in the RMT union’s ongoing dispute with Scotrail over the extension of driver only operated (DOO) trains took to Scottish Government headquarters in Glasgow today (8 August) to protest.
The demonstration by around 50 union activists and supporters was organised to pressure the Scottish Government to intervene in an ongoing dispute over the possible extensions of DOO (sometimes called DCO) trains, which operate without guards who are responsible for safety procedures on trains.
RMT Scottish regional organiser Mick Hogg told CommonSpace that the union wanted the Scottish Government to come down on the side of workers in the dispute.
He said: “We want a guarantee that Scotrail will enter into meaningful dialogue with the RMT that will lay the foundations for a safety critical member of staff to remain on every train.
“If we were to get that guarantee we could suspend any form of ongoing campaign.”
The protest comes after a spate of rolling strikes by guards that hit Scottish trains, reducing national services by 30 per cent on strike days spread out over June and July.
Background: Scotrail guard strike suspended but tensions remain
Trade union activists at Scottish Government headquarters in Glasgow
Until progress was made on worker’s demands, Hogg said, the RMT’s campaign against DOO would continue despite the suspension of planned strikes: “We will ensure the campaign continues by upping the ante industrially and politically. We are doing this to ensure that Scotland’s trains remain safe by keeping a safety critical member of staff on every train,” he said.
“We are certainly not being complacent. We respect that fact that the industrial action is suspended, but that does not mean the campaign stops, we are continuing the campaign,” he added.
Hogg went on to say that activists would be campaigning in accordance with RMT policy to end the practice of DOO trains altogether.
He said: “Where possible, where there are already driver only trains, we would like to see that reversed.”
Responding to the demonstration, a Transport Scotland spokesperson told CommonSpace: “Safety on our railways is paramount. The transport minister has written to the independent rail regulator seeking assurances that DCO is a safe method of operating our railways, which were received.
“We are pleased to see the suspension of upcoming strikes and now we would encourage both parties to continue their talks in order to find a permanent operational solution to this issue.”
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