South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth and the RMT Trade Union have joined forces to make the case for major improvements at Ayr Station.

Both Colin Smyth MSP and RMT Regional Organiser for Scotland, Mick Hogg, met with ScotRail at Ayr Station to see first hand the temporary arrangements that have been put in place since the full time table has resumed at Ayr Station. An exclusion zone is still in place around parts of the former Station Hotel which has affected the normal operation of Ayr Station.

The temporary arrangements in place mean that there is no shelter for passengers waiting on the frequent Ayr to Glasgow service, nor is there shelter for passengers waiting on bus links to the ferry terminals at Cairnryan.

The imposition of the exclusion zone also resulted in a number of offices and back room areas of the station needing to be re-located into portacabins. This has drastically reduced the spaces available for staff to work from and for car parking and other transport links close to the station.

Colin Smyth said, “The conditions for staff working at Ayr Station were already far from ideal prior to the exclusion zone being enforced around Ayr Station. But they have now got even worse, causing disruption for passengers and staff at the station. While staff had to be moved quickly out of offices which were part of the same building as the Station Hotel due to safety fears, the temporary arrangements put in place don’t deliver for staff or passengers.

It is clear that the problems associated with the former hotel are not going to go away, and that there will need to be a long term plan to secure the building. That’s why it is essential that plans for the operation of the Station are made that will last for the medium term and to improve conditions for passengers and staff. I am pleased that ScotRail and Network Rail are progressing plans and that they have set a deadline for autumn to have much of the work completed. However, it is essential that they work together to ensure that improvements are delivered as soon as possible and there is no delay to the vital work needed at Ayr Station.”

The local branch of the RMT Union have continued to highlight the health and safety concerns they have at Ayr Station along with the concerns they have for staff welfare. The RMT have said that both Network Rail and Scot Rail must take ownership of the situation and deliver for staff and the travelling public at the Station.

Mick Hogg said, “Our members and the travelling public should not be subjected to any health and safety risk as a result of this shambles at Ayr Station. The shambles has been created by the refusal of Network Rail and other stakeholders to take ownership of a building that was falling to bits.

It’s an absolute disgrace that workers were and continue to work in an environment that is unsafe and not fit for purpose where employees welfare is threatened. The RMT trade union acknowledge that there has been some progress made, however, the health, safety and welfare concerns lie at the door or Network Rail and Scot Rail who are the primary stakeholders. RMT Union remain available for meaningful talks.”

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