THE SNP government at Holyrood is set today to be accused by the Scottish TUC of “union bashing as shocking as the dark days of Thatcher” – on the very day that its leader addresses delegates in Dundee.
An emergency motion from RMT, Scotland’s biggest rail union, to be debated later today, congratulates Scotrail staff who have taken six days of strike action and pledges the STUC to support the campaign against the extension of driver-only operation.
The motion (full text below) condemns the use of public money by the SNP government not only to bankroll losses by Scotrail during a dispute provoked by the company, but also to finance a strike-breaking army of scabs.
It also commits the STUC to back the campaign to see workers who were dumped with the collapse of rail contractor Jarvis to be transferred to new contractors on their existing terms and conditions.
“It is a scandal that the SNP government has abused public funds to bankroll a dispute aimed at undermining rail safety,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said in Dundee today.
“Our members have made clear where they stand, and that imposition of driver-only operation on the Airdrie-Bathgate line would be the thin end of the wedge that would see safety-trained guards removed wholseale.”
“I am confident that Scottish trade unionists will put themselves squarely behind RMT’s determination to defend rail safety,” Bob Crow said.
RMT emergency motion to STUC on Railway Safety
Congress congratulates RMT conductors , drivers and sleeper-train managers who have taken six days strike action against plans to extend Driver Only Operation on Scottish Passenger Services. Congress pledges its full support for this dispute and states its opposition to extension of Driver Only Operation.
Congress also congratulates Elaine Smith MSP for forcing the Scottish Government to publish, on 17th March 2010, correspondence with First Scotrail which revealed the Scottish Government and Scotrail are negotiating how much tax payer’s money should be used to cover loss revenues for the dispute and pay for scab labour. Congress believes this represents a plan and coordinated level of union-bashing from the SNP government as shocking as the dark days of Thatcher.
Congress notes that the safety of the railway is also being undermined by Network Rail overseeing the sacking of hundreds of maintenance and renewals workers. The cuts are increasing the use of poorly supervised agency staff being forced to travel long distances and work long hours to find work and earn a wage. There are insecurities and low morale which in turn will have an adverse impact on how safety critical work is carried out.
Congress also notes that on 31 March 1200 Jarvis rail workers were sacked after the company went into administration and Network Rail and the UK government failed to back a rescue plan.
Congress further notes that at a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport on 15th April, RMT and TSSA were informed that former Jarvis work will be re- allocated in a “matter of days”. Congress agrees to support the campaign to ensure all former Jarvis employees are transferred under TUPE to the new contractor.
Finally Congress welcomes the STUC’s and numerous MSP’s support for the recent lobby for rail safety and pledges to continue to support this campaign.