Posted 15th June 2016 | 7 Comments

Summer of disruption looms on ScotRail in DOO row

ANOTHER dispute over extensions of driver-only operation is set to disrupt Scottish train services this summer.

The RMT has called for its conductor members on ScotRail to walk out on seven days starting next Tuesday (21 June). Most of the strikes will last for 24 hours, but one weekend walkout for 48 hours is also planned.

The action has followed a union ballot in which three out of four of those who voted chose industrial action. The RMT has called for assurances from ScotRail's owner Abellio that DOO will not be extended north of the border, without success.

The dispute has also been deepened by RMT allegations that ScotRail has promoted a 'campaign of misinformation' to staff, using various channels of communication including messages on social media.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "It is extraordinary that Abellio/Scotrail continue to ignore the strength of feeling amongst their staff over the extension of DOO and that they are still trying to by-pass the normal negotiating machinery.

"That disgraceful and cavalier approach to jobs and safety on Scotland's railways now leaves us with no choice but to move to a campaign of industrial action."

"The workforce know that any extension of DOO or DCO is a clear attack on our members hard earned terms and conditions. RMT members should not have to face the risk of their role and responsibilities being reduced and undermined."

He said the union remained available for 'serious and meaningful talks'.

ScotRail said it believed the solution to the dispute 'lies in talks not strikes', and that it looked forward to resuming negotiations tomorrow.

Apart from 21 June, the other strike dates announced are 23 and 25/26 June, plus 3, 10 and 17 July.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Jim Campbell, Birmingham

    DOO operation has been in operation around the country for years. This is just an old fashioned Union trying to use outdated tactics of the 1970s and making itself a laughing stock in the process. History shows industrial action leads to passengers swapping to alternative modes of transport with consequential loss of rail services and jobs.
    Progressive industries have unions that work with management to increase productivity, reduce prices and so increase public usage.

  • David Ryder, Camberley

    There will be stories in the media in 2025 saying that RMT are still against DOO plans. Me, Mick Cash and the RMT are in disagreement with DOO introduction, and it's going to remain that way. ;)

  • David Ryder, Camberley

    The TOCs' obstinate determination to apply DOO to services is obviously not pleasing the RMT, so they may as well "shut the doors" on the whole thing. ;)

  • David Ryder, Camberley

    I think the most experienced railway expert possible would be confused over why DOO is being considered for implementation. ;)

  • David Ryder, Camberley

    Passengers are indeed caught in the middle of the fiasco, though strikes must happen to continue fighting the DOO plan, whether they last for weeks or months.

  • Douglas, Edinburgh

    Once again it's passengers who will be caught in the middle of this

    It's hard to say for certain but where the RMT are demanding assurances that there will be no introduction of DOO in the lifetime of Abellio's franchise I'm not sure that's a commitment they can give

    The redacted franchise agreement does say that some specified routes will have to be enabled to allow DCO/DOO and there is a requirement to ensure that all the rolling stock they lease is compliant with RIS-2703-RST for CCTV/monitoring systems to allow DOO. I was under the impression that part of the agreement between Transport Scotland and Abellio was to enforce DOO/DCO on a number of routes but that isnít expressly stated in the redacted agreement so isnít available publically as far as I know

    Given the franchise currently runs until 31st March 2025 it would seem unlikely that Abellio would/could give assurances over developments for the next 9 years

    The other assurance I'd seen being demanded by the RMT is over the new Hitachi trains having controls for guards to open doors

    The Hitachi Class 385 EMU fleet has been under construction since Abellio were awarded the franchise in October 2014 and the first of the AT-200 design are due in service early next year. I havenít seen anything to suggest that they were being equipped for DOO (and the fact that RMT are seeking assurances also suggests that they are not currently being fitted for alternatives other than DOO and ASDO)

    To go back and refit would be expensive and would also delay their introduction into service. Since this is mostly funded by Transport Scotland there would need to be agreement from more than just Abellio management?

    I've commented previously on the similar DOO dispute between the RMT and GTR in the south but this one is much closer to home

    It would be interesting to hear from an objective expert here who can actually share the facts of the matter over and above thoughts and ideas from the observers, the PR of the operators and most loudly the allegations and propaganda of the unions

    I doubt many (if any) of those who will be forced to change their plans (if they are able) during this "campaign of industrial action" will really understand why they are being targeted and what for

    All very confusing

    [Unfortunately the most expert and objective commentator imagineable will be hampered by the redactions in the franchise agreement. We don't need an expert -- we need a mole!--Editor.]

  • Chris Green, Huddersfield

    DOO will be up in the sky very soon as no other franchise will be able to implement it.