Rail franchises operators & contracts

18.01.19

Unions launch campaign after closure notice served on 200-job Glasgow rail depot

Rail maintenance company Gemini Rail has served a closure notice on its Springburn depot and served workers with redundancy notices, sparking unions to launch a campaign to save the rail works.

Gemini Rail announced its intention to close the depot in December, threatening nearly 200 jobs at the Glasgow rail services firm – but politicians backed the union’s pleas for the company to postpone serving notice.

However, Gemini Rail Services has now initiated the required 45-day consultation period as, despite its best efforts, the company says it is “is suffering unsustainable losses.”

The managing director of Gemini, Nick Fitzwater, said: “The proposal has been made against a backdrop of increasingly challenging market conditions which are outside of our control and affect our core business of maintaining pre-privatisation rolling stock.

“Springburn will continue to suffer a major decline in work due to its location and the section of the market it serves.”

Unite has launched a campaign dubbed ‘Rally Roon the Caley,’ based on the depot’s local name, demanding the Scottish Government’s immediate intervention to bring the depot under its control due to strategic importance in Scotland’s transport infrastructure, and save around 180 jobs.

The union also wants on-site electrification in order to connect the site to the Glasgow-Edinburgh rail line at an estimated cost of £1m.

Unite representatives met with the UK rail minister Andrew Jones and Gemini management at Westminster this week to discuss the potential closure, and will meet with the Scottish Government transport minister next week.

Cross-party politicians along with Unite have previously urged Gemini to delay serving notice for a more detailed examination of the company’s financial status and to fully explore different options.

Pat McIlvogue, regional industrial officer, said: “The reality is that we now have 45 days to save the depot as a result of Gemini’s utterly disgraceful behaviour of ignoring calls by both the Scottish and UK governments, and most importantly the workforce, for more time.

“We now require immediate intervention to support the electrification of the depot and for it to be brought under the control of the Scottish Government.”

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Image credit: iStock

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