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ScotRail offers conductors on electrified services in RMT dispute

Efforts to resolve the ongoing industrial dispute on ScotRail services have taken a step forward as the company made a new offer to RMT.

ScotRail has offered to guarantee a conductor with power to operate doors on any ScotRail EMU services that operate on routes that are being electrified, now or in the future, and services that operate on the north Berwick-Edinburgh-Carstairs-Glasgow routes.

RMT has led a series of strikes on ScotRail services throughout June and July in protest at plans to expand driver-only operated (DOO) services, where only the driver can open the doors. It has warned this will make it harder for conductors to maintain safety on a train and could put their jobs at risk.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We were encouraged by the talks yesterday but further discussion will need to take place. In order to enable this, we have asked the RMT to suspend all upcoming strikes and to encourage a return to normal working.”

However, the union said that it will subject the latest offer to detailed scrutiny and consultation from its executive and membership before responding, and that strikes on 7, 8, 11, 13 and 14 August are still on.

Network Rail Scotland is in the process of electrifying services as part of its Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, although the ORR has warned that the project is in danger of missing key milestones.

RMT is also currently holding talks with Govia Thameslink Railway in a bid to resolve another dispute on Southern services.

(Image c. Andrew Mulligan from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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Huguenot   02/08/2016 at 12:14

That seems like a complete climbdown by ScotRail to me. "With power to operate doors ..." -- does that mean anything other than retaining normal door operation by guards? So where DOO/DCO now? Will the new stock have to have door controls other than in the cabs after all? If so, a waste of money, quite apart from the extra station dwell times.

Neil Palmer   02/08/2016 at 16:52

Totally agree with Huguenot. This is surrender to blackmail and is only postponing the inevitable, at the added cost of having to modify all the new trains on order. Also the absolute pigheadedness of Mick Cash and the RMT is evident - they STILL won't call off or suspend the upcoming series of strikes. Well it's absolutely evident to everyone now who's to blame for the disruption. ScotRail should at least have the intestinal fortitude to tell the RMT that if they don't suspend the upcoming series of strikes pending their "detailed scrutiny and consultation" thatthe offer is off the table.

Redned   03/08/2016 at 09:24

As far as I'm aware , there is still negotiation to take place over the method of dispatch, so this is not a done deal. Hence why action hasn't been cancelled. As for Mick Cash , he has played no part in the RMT negotiating team that sat down with Scotrail on Monday and Tuesday . A union is there to look after its members interests. It looks like progress has been made on both sides . The above 2 comments are typical of Management culture and anti union bias still at large on the Railways.

Rupert Le Bere   03/08/2016 at 14:15

I thought it was only architects who designed something without any consideration for how it should be maintained. Sort out how the operating spec before you build the things and you won't have to go back and redesign. Remember the palaver with the HST cabs in the 1970s?

Neil Palmer   03/08/2016 at 21:12

Redned, It's not anti-union in general, it's specifically anti-RMT. We're not living in the 19th century anymore. Television and CCTV on board trains (& over doors) have been invented, and the RSSB even states driver operation of the doors is NOT a safety concern, and could even be safer as it removed the possibility of mis-communication between driver and guard. Driver controlled operation of doors (in addition to station staff assisting with dispatch on busier stations) is required to reduce station dwell times and increase network capacity on busier lines. The RMT has already been promised no loss of jobs, and a guard/conductor scheduled aboard all services, yet because they would no longer operate the doors they act like a spoiled child who has had one of their toys taken away. So we know it's not about safety, or loss of jobs, or loss of pay - so that leave the usual RMT goal, trying to extort more money. They truly are an organization responsible for the bad reputations other unions may (undeservedly) get. Rupert, If door controls for guards DO end up being required, surely in this day and age it would be possible to create a secure app for an iPad or similar device for the guard to log in to the door control system on a train (additionally secured by a GPS location comparison between the guard's device and the train) instead of having to physically install door controls in every coach.

Jerry Alderson   05/08/2016 at 16:13

Having conductor/guards who have to stop serving passengers and go to a door at **every** station (regardless of what that station is like) is really bad news for passengers. Door operation by conductor/guards means a poorer service for passenger. It also means a slower end-to-end journey. Flexibility - whereby a conductor/guard can assist the driver with door management by exception (e.g. at stations with curved platforms, or at unusually busy stations where the platform is crowded with passengers waiting for the next train, or in bad weather) - would probably be the best of all worlds for passengers.

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