Scotland’s transport minister is facing calls to resign if he does not resolve a dispute with a rail union before the close of business today.
The Scottish government and the train operator ScotRail have set a deadline of 5pm this evening for the RMT union to accept a pay rise offer to avert strikes during the COP26 summit.
Speaking with BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme yesterday, Scotland’s Transport Minister Graeme Dey said “the signs are not optimistic” regarding a potential deal with the union.
The Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Liberal Democrats have complained that Mr Dey has failed to reach an agreement on the months-long dispute, highlighting the potential for global embarrassment if trains are not running during the landmark climate summit.
Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Jill Reilly said: “If the trains don’t run smoothly and on time for the duration of COP26, then Graeme Dey should resign,” and pointed out that “Stewart Stevenson resigned as transport minister after snow and a lack of preparedness brought key roads to a standstill.”
RMT have argued that today’s deadline amounts to having a “gun pointed at your head”.
The RMT union said earlier this month that 84 per cent of its members had voted in favour of the strike.
They have previously rejected a two-year deal offered by the Scottish government.
Michael Hogg of the RMT union later told the BBC that the government’s new deal was “not worthy of consideration”, alleging that the pay increase offer was 4.7% over two years, but would mandate workers surrendering some other terms and conditions.
He said there will be no train services in Scotland during the climate summit if their action goes ahead.
Caledonian Sleeper workers will also strike.