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Rail safety concerns as strikes hit ScotRail in CCTV dispute

Martin Williams @MWilliamsHT Senior News Reporter

RAIL workers are to go on strike on Scottish Cup Final day and a bank holiday weekend in a dispute over a dwindling number of CCTV operators which unions say are putting passengers on Scotland's railways at risk.

Members of the transport staff union TSSA have backed action on Saturday, May 19, the day of the Scottish Cup Final as well as May 5 and June 11.

The RMT union is committed to a strike on May 5 and June 11 and have not "at this stage" agreed to a walkout on May 19.

Celtic play Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final on May 19 at Hampden Park in Glasgow while the first weekend in May is part of a bank holiday.

The strike is expected to severely deplete CCTV monitoring across Scotland.

But ScotRail said that they have plans in place which ensure that any aciton will not impact on their customers.

Staff affected monitor CCTV screens from thousands of cameras guarding all aspects of rail safety across Scotland's stations and rail track from a security operation nerve centre in Paisley and Dunfermline.

Last year union leaders suspended a strike action threat after plans to axe one third of 78 CCTV monitoring jobs were withdrawn.

But now TSSA say it is concerned that ScotRail still managed to achieve 17 voluntary redundancies from the CCTV section without being replaced. It is also worried that moving some staff to night shifts without further recruitment will result in a "real risk to passenger safety".

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said, “This is a crisis entirely of ScotRail’s own making and our members have had enough. Our members have never worked night shifts before and their family lives shouldn’t have to be sacrificed due to ScotRail’s bad management.

“These strikes don’t need to happen at all – we’re ready to meet with Abellio at any time – they just need to stop forcing night shifts on their staff."

Mick Hogg of RMT said: "We think what is happening with the job losses is a shambles and unacceptable.

"ScotRail have not been listening and we believe there is no need for the job losses.

"The company wants to cut jobs and change terms and conditions which is unacceptable as far as we are concerned.

"The roles that have been lost are safety roles and are there to keep members of the public and staff safe."

David Lister, ScotRail's sustainability and safety assurance director, said: “We have contingency measures in place to ensure that any proposed action will have no impact on the service our customers receive.

“We are disappointed with this decision but will continue discussions with our people. The safety of our employees and customers is our priority, which is why our proposals will improve safety and enhance the information we provide to our customers.”

Copyright - The Herald

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