Scotrail franchise to end early

18 December 2019

ASLEF, the train drivers' trade union, has welcomed, with reservations, the decision by the Scottish government to invoke its break clause on ScotRail.

 

Kevin Lindsay, the union's organiser in Scotland, said: 'We are delighted by the decision announced today because we have argued for a long time that Abellio has been letting down passengers and staff here in Scotland. We also welcome the opportunity for a public service provider to bid to run the franchise in two years' time.

 

'Because we have been campaigning for years for the government here to do something about the plight of passengers who use the ScotRail services provided by Abellio. Those of us on the front line – ScotRail train drivers and other railway staff – can see every day how the company comes up short.

 

'But we are disappointed that the SNP government has not grasped the real problem - and the solution to that problem - and simply taken this opportunity to bring Scotland's railway back into public ownership.

 

'The truth is that the franchise model is a broken business model. It hasn't worked, it doesn't work, and it will not work. Everyone on the railway understands that.

 

'It was the Tories, under John Major, who privatised the railways in Britain. But it was the SNP government here at Holyrood which has refused to renationalise our railway. ASLEF has consistently called for the railway to be brought back into public ownership. That will be better for passengers, better for staff, better for businesses, and better for taxpayers. And will offer real value to every Scottish taxpayer by running our railway as a public service, not as a vehicle for private profit.'

 

Kevin welcomed Scottish government Transport Minister Michael Matheson's statement today that he is opposed to restricting the right of rail workers to take industrial action.

 

'All rail powers should now be devolved to Scotland,' said Kevin. 'It is clear there is an enormous gulf - much wider than the River Tweed - between Boris Johnson's Tory government in England and what is right for the people in Scotland - especially the passengers who use, and the staff who work on, the railway here in Scotland.'

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