Rail jobs, staff issues and training

13.12.18

Up to 180 jobs at risk following closure of Scottish rail maintenance site

As many as 180 highly-skilled jobs are at risk at a Glasgow rail maintenance company following news that the site will close.

Management of Gemini Rail Services based in Springburn made the announcement on Wednesday that the proposed closure was a result of “unsustainable decline” in the demand for the maintenance of trains due to the introduction of new rolling stock.

The closure and redundancies of 120 staff members and 60 contractors of the Springburn depot – which carries out service, maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrades on all trains for ScotRail – has raised the concerns of Unite officials, who are now calling on the Scottish Government to intervene to ensure the site remains open.

The news is sure to worry the rail industry which has previously spoken about the need to ensure rail maintenance services are kept running; industrial strategy minister Richard Harrington, speaking at the RIA Parliamentary Reception last month, highlighted the importance of ensuring that the maintenance sector was still to be invested in despite the recent influx of new rolling stock on the UK’s rail networks.

If the site’s closure goes ahead, Unite says, it will force the repairs of Scotland’s rail stock to be carried out in England.

A spokesperson for the company said:  "It is with deep regret that Gemini Rail Services has had to announce to employees its proposal to close the Springburn site in Glasgow. We are now entering a consultation period where all options will be explored with a view to avoiding redundancies.

"The proposal is as a result of increasingly changing and challenging market conditions which are outside of our control. It is very clear, as it has been for some time, that numbers of pre-privatisation rolling stock which have been the cornerstone of business for many years, are in severe decline.”

The spokesperson noted that due to the introduction of more modern vehicles, the number of pre-privatisation vehicles in service will reduce by 80% over the next five years.

Regional industrial officer for Unite Pat McIlvogue: “We have been fobbed off on the basis that talks between the Scottish Government and Gemini Rail Services UK Ltd were forthcoming. We believe there is a significant body of work which can sustain the site until the end of next year at the very least. 

“The announcement must concentrate the mind of the transport minister and the Scottish Government must urgently intervene to ensure the future of the site.”

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