Fares, rail policy and DfT news

07.03.19

Springburn rail depot’s closure confirmed with up to 200 jobs lost labelled a ‘betrayal’ of Scottish rail industry

Gemini Rail has confirmed the closure of the Springburn depot, meaning up to 200 jobs will now be lost in Glasgow, with unions calling it a “betrayal” of the Scottish rail industry.

The rail maintenance company revealed its proposals to close the St Rollox depot in December to uproar from unions and local politicians, who begged the Scottish Government to intervene.

But a spokesperson has confirmed that it is “with sincere regret that Gemini Rail Services announces that severely adverse market conditions means it will be closing operations at Springburn.”

The spokesperson added: “Gemini will continue to work with the Scottish Government and stakeholders over the site’s future use, including the possibility of a transport hub.”

“Our priority now is to fully support our employees.”

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “extremely disappointed” by the news and acknowledged that this will be a very concerning time for workers and their families.

Sturgeon stressed that further meetings with stakeholders would take place at the end of the month to discuss the way forward, and said consideration still needs to be given to potential options for keeping the site open.

The RMT slammed the move, calling it a “betrayal of the Scottish rail industry,” and MSP James Kelly said it was time for the government to step in and take over the plant.

Gemini issued the Springburn depot’s closure notice in January. Defending its decisions, the company stated that despite its best efforts, it is “suffering unsustainable losses” which will continue because of a major decline in work due to its services and location.

Politicians urged the company to postpone serving the notice on the depot and backed union’s calls for the depot to be taken into public ownership, stressing the depot’s great strategic importance to Scotland’s transport infrastructure.

During a 45-day consultation period, Gemini’s management and Unite held several talks with the Scottish Government and UK rail minister Andrew Jones, but no action has currently been taken by the government.

Gemini plans on gradually closing the depot, with at least 120 jobs to go before the final closure date of March 2020.

Another MSP, Bob Doris, called the looming closure a “devasting blow for a skilled and dedicated workforce” and also accused Gemini Rail of being “inflexible and uncooperative.”

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