Saturday, 20 February 2010

Standing shoulder to shoulder with striking Scotrail conductors

I was proud to be invited to join striking railway workers on their picket line at Edinburgh's Waverley station this morning to offer the Scottish Socialist Party's support to the 550 conductors and guards striking against Scotrail management's plans to impose driver only trains on the new Edinburgh to Glasgow line through Bathgate and Airdrie due to open later this year.
Despite the obvious inconvenience suffered, the public overwhelmingly supported the unions cause.
The guards, conductors and ticket examiners on strike throughout Scotland today deserve the full support of the travelling public. They certainly have mine. This dispute centres on Scotrail management's plans to introduce driver only trains on this busy line for the first time. All trains running between Edinburgh and Glasgow currently have at least two members of staff serving the public.
The travelling public have made it repeatedly clear they prefer to have a guard or conductor on board to deal with whatever eventualities may arise.
This is after all the busiest part of the Scottish rail network. Reducing this service to a driver only operation neither meets the public's wishes nor keeps to the franchise agreement which Scotrail signed with the Scottish Government.
I was able to sat to those union activists I met this morning that I want to see services on our national rail network improved not suffer further deterioration. That is why I stand 100% behind the Rail, Maritime and Transport union members today because I see them defending the service Scotrail delivers to the public who after all pay for it through their fares and their taxes.

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