Rail jobs, staff issues and training

19.02.19

‘Time is running out’: MSP and union leaders call for government intervention into Springburn depot

Scottish Labour and union leaders have called on the government to take the Springburn depot under public control as ministers debate the depot’s planned closure in parliament.

A delegation of Unite representatives and some of the depot’s workforce will protest against the closure outside of Scottish Parliament today, coinciding with a member’s debate led by Labour MSP James Kelly.

Rail maintenance company Gemini Rail announced its intention to close the St Rollox depot Springburn in December, threatening 200 jobs at the Glasgow firm and, despite widespread calls to postpone, issued a closure notice in January.

Politicians urged the company to postpone serving the notice, and backed a Unite campaign demanding intervention from the Scottish Government to save the depot – which it says is of great strategic importance to Scotland’s transport infrastructure.

Springburn’s closure is currently under a 45-day consultation period and Gemini say that despite its best efforts, the company is “suffering unsustainable losses” and will continue to suffer a major decline in work due to its services and its location.

Unite and Gemini’s management have held talks with UK rail minister Andrew Jones, but the closure has been described as an “act of industrial vandalism” by the RMT and the Scottish Government is under increasingly pressure to act.

Ahead of today’s debate, MSP Kelly said: “Time is running out to save these 200 highly-skilled jobs and a vital part of Scotland’s railway infrastructure and history.

“Scottish ministers must intervene and announce the electrification of the site to allow the depot to connect to the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line at a cost of less than £1 million.”

Kelly and Unite pointed to the government’s decision in 2013 to take Prestwick Airport under its control and said it must now do the same to save St Rollox.

Unite regional industrial officer Pat McIlvogue, who will lead the rally, has also called for on-site electrification.

Last month, the Scottish transport secretary did agree to commission a study into the designs and costs of linking the works to an electrified line.

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