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Daily Record
Daily Record
Stuart Gillespie

Train strikes cause more misery for Dumfries and Galloway rail passengers

Train strikes once again caused misery for the region’s rail passengers over the weekend.

Staff at Network Rail who are members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) staged their latest round of industrial action on Friday and Saturday.

That led to TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast urging passengers only to travel if essential.

And ScotRail, which isn’t involved in the pay and conditions dispute but is affected because Network Rail is responsible for infrastructure, ran no services at all in Dumfries and Galloway.

Bosses from the RMT were set to meet with the UK’s rail minister Huw Merriman in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The unions claim the Government is blocking a deal to resolve the dispute – something Transport Secretary Mark Harper denies.

RMT General secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “I want to see the Government stop play-acting because the truth, written in black and white in their rail contracts, is that they’ve been in complete control of this dispute from day one.

“The minister cannot hide behind this fairy story that he is just a facilitator. His Government can end this dispute today by taking out the conditions they put in to torpedo a resolution and let the companies make a deal.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Transport Secretary and rail minister have held polite, constructive meetings with a range of union leaders since taking office.

“They have had open and honest conversations about the serious challenges facing the railways.

“Unions should step back from strike action so we can start 2023 by ending this damaging dispute.

“Inflation-matching pay increases for all public sector workers would cost everyone more in the long term – worsening debt, fuelling inflation and costing every household an extra £1,000.”

The Aslef train drivers union also staged industrial action last week, affecting TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast Services.

It is now considering a new offer from the Rail Delivery Group of a four per cent pay rise for this year and the same for last year.

Meanwhile, talks on a pay deal for teachers were due to be held yesterday afternoon as two days of strikes are set to hit schools.

Staff in primary schools will walk out tomorrow followed by secondary school teachers on Wednesday.

Members of the EIS, NASUWT, SSTA and the AHDS trade unions are taking part in the action.

Unions are seeking a 10 per cent increase and have rejected a five per cent proposal, although the offer is said to includes rises of up to 6.85 per cent for the lowest-paid staff.

The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SCNT) was meeting yesterday to discuss the pay options.

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