ScotRail welcomes strike ballot outcome

Last updated: Tuesday, 8 December 2020

ScotRail has welcomed the outcome of the RMT ballot, after the union’s members decided not to support strike action.

Bosses at the RMT trade union balloted their members for strike action because no pay rise has been granted during the pandemic. The result of the ballot was as follows:

Yes No
Strike Action 756 631
Industrial action short of a strike (for example a ban on overtime or rest day working) 955 432

Of the 2,445 RMT members balloted, just 756 (31 per cent) voted to support strike action. As support for the RMT action did not meet the legal threshold of 40 per cent of the total number of people entitled to vote, the action has been rejected. The proposed action short of a strike also did not meet the legal threshold for those voting yes.

ScotRail advised against any strike action for the following reasons:

  • Under the terms of the Emergency Measures Agreement (EMA) with the Scottish Government, ScotRail can only enter pay talks with the trade unions once formal permission has been granted by the government.
  • At a time when no permanent jobs have been lost, no changes to basic salary levels have been made, and not a single member of ScotRail staff has been placed on furlough, ScotRail’s credibility with passengers and the taxpayer would be damaged by any strike action during a national crisis.

The job security enjoyed by ScotRail staff under the EMA is in stark contrast to other businesses and industries, including other transport providers, where thousands of jobs have been lost across the country.

Alex White, ScotRail’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“I am glad ScotRail staff decided not to support strike action. While this is an issue that has led to a lot of discussion across our organisation, I welcome the decision that has been reached as I feel that it is right for the railway and our passengers.

“Strike action at a time of national crisis, and when we benefit from a level of job security not enjoyed by other industries, would have been wrong.

“It is recognised that our staff have worked hard during the pandemic to deliver a safe and reliable service for key workers. It’s vital that we all now work together to attract more people back to the railway when COVID-19 restrictions allow.”