© Reuters. Scotland agrees deal to avert Christmas rail strikes, begins talks with nurses
Proactive Investors – Nurses will strike on 15 and 20 December, but those in will Scotland will not take part, while a deal between ScotRail and unions also looks set to avert Christmas disruption in the country.
Scottish railway workers have accepted a pay offer, having previously threatened severe disruption in the festive run-up that would see members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers striking regularly on Fridays and Saturdays.
Commenting on the accepted offer of between 8.5% to 7.5%, ScotRail’s Phil Campbell said: “We worked hard to put forward an offer which recognises the hard work of staff, as well as the financial challenges faced by the railway as we recover from the pandemic.”
Amid ongoing pay disputes across the rest of the UK, transport secretary Mark Harper suggested an element of “realism” was needed from both unions and employers, as he outlined he would take an active role in helping settle disagreements.
With 40,000 RMT members due to stage four 48-hour walkouts in the coming months, Harper told the BBC it was unlikely that a pay offer would match the level of inflation, which is currently over 11%.
He added: “I think people need to understand that and there needs to be some realism in this process.”
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has confirmed its “first phase” of strikes, announcing action will take place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, suggesting little success in pay negotiations.
Nurses will not strike in Scotland, however, with previous reports suggesting the government was looking to divert money within its budget to give NHS staff pay rises.
RCN outlined: “Meetings with the UK government have seen ministers sidestep the serious issues of NHS pay and patient safety.”
“There is no functioning government in Northern Ireland. Welsh ministers have not yet agreed to meet, despite our requests.”
It added: “Plans for strike action in Scotland have been paused after the Scottish government decided to return to the negotiating table to avert strikes.”
workers will also be striking today as part of a series of 48-hour strikes, with disruption expected to spread to Black Friday shoppers.
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