Strike action by ScotRail train drivers has forced the company to make an improved pay offer. The drivers' RMT and Aslef unions have suspended strikes to ballot over the new deal.
ScotRail, owned by the National Express group, is now offering to pay the workers a 14 percent rise from June to increase drivers' pay to £26,200 a year. By January 2004 the workers will be on £28,000. This would mean ScotRail drivers would be on the same rate as other train drivers.
The workers have held four solid one-day strikes over three weeks. Their threat to hold 24-hour strikes at least once a week for the rest of the year forced the management to cave in.
The unions are recommending the offer, saying it will be a benchmark for other workers on the railways to follow.
Over 300 workers on Arriva Trains Northern held a 48-hour strike over pay on Wednesday of last week. The guards and retail workers were joined in a 24-hour strike by conductors. Both groups of workers are fighting against a 3 percent offer. Talks between management and the workers' RMT union were to take place following last week's strike.
Mark Russell, an RMT rep on Arriva, told Socialist Worker, 'The strikes are rock solid. Only four people went in. 'We're as determined as we were at the beginning of the dispute. Management are taking a hard line, but they have called for talks.' Further strikes were planned for Friday and Saturday this week.