Socialist Worker

ScotRail result shows action could win more

by Sam Ord
Issue No. 2779

Strikes were called off at ScotRail

Strikes were called off at ScotRail (Pic: Geof Sheppard)

ScotRail workers in the RMT and Unite unions have won a pay deal ending their seven months of weekly strikes.

Workers in both unions joined forces to threaten 13 days of strikes during the Cop26 climate conference. The strike would have caused travel delays and cancellations.

The united workers’ threat of action resulted in them winning significant gains.

These included a 2.5 Percent pay increase backdated to April 2021, followed by a 2.2 percent increase from April 2022. This is still below the rate of inflation.

They also won a £300 payment and a three-hour book-on allowance applied to each rest day worked.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, “Following further discussions between RMT and ScotRail an agreement has been reached and the proposals have been accepted by the union

“As the disputes are resolved strike action has been cancelled and RMT members have been advised to work normally.”

RMT and Unite were right to link up the disputes—it was key to their success—but striking over Cop26 raised the possibility of striking to protect green jobs and the planet. The unions chose to keep their outlook narrow.

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper service—members of the RMT union—were also involved in the campaign.

But their dispute for pay and justice is ongoing, and now they are fighting alone.

Lynch said, “We have proved that the money is there if the will is there and we will hear no more excuses from Serco now that the benchmark has been set on Scotrail.

“The Sleeper is the green alternative to the pollution of short-haul flights and it would be a travesty if the staff delivering it were kicked in the teeth and shut out in the cold during Cop26.

“There can be no climate justice without workplace justice and we want Serco back at the table today with a clear instruction from their political paymasters to get this last remaining Scottish rail dispute settled sharpish.”

The possibility of demanding investment in green jobs is there and should be fought for.

ScotRail workers have shown that strikes can win results. On a wider scale they can be a central part of winning climate justice.

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