Rail unions call on Scottish government to act

07 October 2014

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF; Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT; and Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA; have written to MSPs at Holyrood ahead of an imminent decision regarding the winning bidder for the ScotRail franchise following which the successful operator will be awarded a ten year contract starting in the spring.

They say: 'We are concerned that this will mean Scotland’s railways remain privatised for another decade. You will appreciate that, as part of the new devolution settlement for Scotland, there are commitments to further devolve responsibility on rail so the Scottish government can decide if it wishes to run ScotRail services in the public sector. We are concerned that these new powers to determine Scottish rail services will be meaningless if the winning bidder is announced this month with the contract due to commence in April 2015. You may also be aware that, legally, the Scottish government can vary, suspend or terminate the ScotRail tendering process at any time up to the notification of the successful bidder. We are therefore calling on the Scottish government to withhold notifying a successful bidder and instead allow the franchise to continue until later in 2015 when the new Scottish Act will be implemented and the Scottish government will have the power to run ScotRail services in the public sector. We also urge the Scottish government to use these new developments to review the decision to notify the winning bidder for the Caledonian Sleeper franchise, which is also due to start in April 2015.'

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