Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

ScotRail service cuts will ‘absolutely not’ last until next summer – minister

ScotRail is introducing a temporary timetable, cutting 700 services, due to a driver shortage (PA)
ScotRail is introducing a temporary timetable, cutting 700 services, due to a driver shortage (PA)

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth has insisted ScotRail services will “absolutely not” be reduced until summer 2023.

The nationalised rail operator will cut 700 services from Monday in response to train driver shortages caused by a disagreement with the union Aslef which has seen some drivers decline to work overtime or on rest days.

It is understood the temporary timetable could be in place for weeks and Ms Gilruth was questioned on Friday about whether a quick resolution is possible.

She was asked on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme if the disruption can be temporary given ScotRail needs some 130 train drivers.

Coronavirus – Tue Oct 6, 2020
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth denied the service cuts will last until summer 2023 (PA)

Ms Gilruth said 38 drivers are expected to be trained by the end of this summer, with the figure rising to 55 by the end of the year and to 100 by June 2023.

She was then asked if that means the reduced timetable will therefore be in place until the summer of next year.

The minister said: “Absolutely not. We want trade unions to come back to the table. But it is absolutely true to say that the network is dependent on rest day working at the present time.

“We need to phase out that practice. I know the unions are supportive of that. And I think too it’s time for the unions to come back to the table to work with ScotRail.”

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby told the same programme the reduced services will cause “chaos for passengers and workers and businesses” across the country.

He said the cuts are “avoidable” and the situation “needs resolved”.

He added: “The Scottish Government needs to ensure that ScotRail management are entering into meaningful talks with the unions to ensure that the level of service can be restored for people in Scotland, and also needs to address the long-term understaffing that there has been on our railways that’s driving this situation at the moment.”

Union bosses previously rejected a 2.2% pay rise and balloted drivers over industrial action.

Ms Gilruth, who is expected to meet with ScotRail bosses on Friday, urged Aslef to continue to discuss the dispute with ScotRail bosses.

She said: “I would strongly encourage Aslef to continue that dialogue with ScotRail, the employer, because I’m not in the room as minister so I don’t want there to be allegations of political interference.

“It is absolutely right that ScotRail as the employer negotiate with Aslef in the room so that we can get to that mutually agreeable outcome and we can remove this temporary timetable that has to be brought in.

“This timetable is a temporary timetable and I don’t want it to be in place for a minute longer.”

But Aslef hit out at Ms Gilruth’s comments.

Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay said: “The public need honesty and action, not political game playing.

“From day one Aslef has been 100% committed to negotiations.

“The reality is we’ve been waiting on more talks since our five-minute meet on May 4. Since then, we have only heard from them through the media.

“We have had no correspondence and no offer in writing at any time. We’ve not had the details of the 2.2% offer, or the proposed bonus scheme, in writing from them.

“It is high time ministers stopped the spin and instructed ScotRail to withdraw their attempt to butcher the timetable, which is more about the purse than the passengers, and to get back round the table for immediate, meaningful talks on pay.

“We remain available anytime, any place, anywhere to save Scotland’s railways from these politically motivated service cuts.”