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Warning to rail passengers as signal boxes reopen after strike

Warning to rail passengers as signal boxes reopen after strike
Train services across Scotland will continue to be disrupted on Thursday as staff return to work following Wednesday’s industrial action.

Train services across Scotland will be disrupted on Thursday as signal boxes reopen following industrial action.

ScotRail has warned passengers that services will start later than normal as staff return to duties following Wednesday’s strike, which saw members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union walk out in a row with Network Rail over jobs, pay and conditions.

The rail operator tweeted: “There’ll be significant disruption across the country today, due to the reopening of Network Rail signal boxes at different times throughout the day. This follows yesterday’s strike action by Network Rail RMT members, and so services will start later than normal.”

Some services have also been amended and ScotRail has urged passengers to check their journeys before travelling.

Both sides in the dispute have so far failed to come to an agreement, and Scottish transport minister Jenny Gilruth has called for UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to intervene.

Earlier this week, she told BBC’s The Nine: “It’s hugely important the UK Government acts to resolve these rail strikes and I know this will be causing passengers real challenges.

“Over the course of the last couple of months I know that passengers in Scotland have already experienced some concerns in regard to service delivery.

“I think it is for the UK Government to intervene. Grant Shapps has an absolute responsibility here.”

Members of the RMT on the picket line outside Edinburgh Waverley station (Katharine Hay/PA)
Members of the RMT on the picket line outside Edinburgh Waverley station (Katharine Hay/PA)

However, the UK Government insists the dispute is a matter for unions and employers to negotiate, with Mr Shapps branding the strikes “cynical” as he called for the RMT to “stop holding the country to ransom”.

He said on Wednesday: “Today, union bosses are once again trying to cause as much disruption as possible to the day to day lives of millions of hardworking people around the country.

“What’s more, it has been cynically timed to disrupt the start of the Commonwealth Games and crucial Euro 2022 semi-finals, in a deliberate bid to impact the travel of thousands trying to attend events the whole country is looking forward to.”

Protests took place in Glasgow during Wednesday’s strike, with RMT members being joined at Central station by members of other unions.

There were also picket lines at most of Scotland’s major stations, including Edinburgh Waverley, which were largely empty of commuters.

Protesters also demonstrated outside Network Rail’s office in St Vincent’s Street.