COP26 Conference: Planned train strike called off days before summit

·2-min read
The Scottish Government and ScotRail had imposed a deadline of 5pm on Wednesday for a resolution (PA)
The Scottish Government and ScotRail had imposed a deadline of 5pm on Wednesday for a resolution (PA)

Rail strikes during the Cop26 climate conference have been called off after the RMT confirmed negotiations on a pay rise have been settled.

It followed negotiations between the trade union and transport bosses on Wednesday ahead of the climate conference in Glasgow.

Transport during the 13-day United Nations (UN) summit, which is drawing world leaders and thousands of delegates, was set to be heavily disrupted by rail strikes amid a dispute on pay and conditions.

The Scottish Government and ScotRail had imposed a deadline of 5pm on Wednesday for a resolution.

Watch: Activists 'set fire' to Glasgow's George Square ahead of Cop26 climate summit

The RMT confirmed the planned action will be “withdrawn immediately” as members welcomed a pay rise. The new terms accept the union’s call for a 2.5 per cent pay rise backdated to April as well as a “Cop26 payment” of £300 for all staff.

Employees will also be granted a three-hour book on allowance which will apply to each rest day worked. This will be applicable 12 months from the date of the agreement.

In a letter released to union members following the agreement, RMT general secretary Michael Lynch said the offer was accepted “unanimously” by delegates.

His letter added: “I congratulate you on achieving this magnificent industrial victory and gaining a one-year pay deal and rest day working agreement without any preconditions and which banishes the previously stated productivity strings attached.”

Climate activists gather in George Square in Glasgow (Getty Images)
Climate activists gather in George Square in Glasgow (Getty Images)

In response to the announcement, ScotRail’s chief operating officer Ian McConnell said: “We have reached a pay agreement with the RMT trade union that resolves strike action.

“We look forward to Scotland’s Railway playing its part in delivering a successful Cop26 next week.”

Scotland’s transport minister Graeme Dey had come under increasing pressure over the planned strikes amid fears it could cause chaos at the conference.

Following the announcement, he said: “As well as getting the pay rise they deserve, railway workers can now go back to delivering rail services for people right across Scotland and as well as for those attending Cop26.”

Opposition parties took aim at the SNP for the delay in accepting the union’s call for a pay rise, but welcomed the announcement.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson Neil Bibby said: “This eleventh hour deal may help the SNP save face but it won’t fix the mess they’ve made of our railways.”

Watch: Officials temper expectations ahead of COP26

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