Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

The UK Government’s refusal to engage with unions over this week’s train strikes is “a disgrace”, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

Strikes will take place on almost all major lines across Britain on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Even rail companies whose workers are not striking will be affected – as Network Rail workers are taking action – and they look after tracks and other infrastructure.

A special timetable will be in place across south Scotland until Sunday.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps has said it is not for the government to intervene to stop rail strikes, despite unions calling for talks.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “Absolutely no one wanted these strikes to go ahead, not the unions, not the staff and not the public but they could have been avoided.

“The Tory Government should have shown leadership and directly intervened to ensure there were meaningful talks between employers Network Rail, which is government owned, and the unions to make a fair and sensible pay offer, rather than refusing to engage with unions.

“It is a disgrace that the Government is refusing to get involved in talks with the unions given that they own Network Rail and it is the public who will suffer.

“I’m also calling on the UK Government to address the cuts to safety and maintenance staff which are also driving this dispute.

“Instead of getting a grip of this crisis, the Tories are smugly sitting by while the country is dragged back to the 1980s.

“Rather than fix the mess they have created, desperate Tory ministers are spoiling for a fight to distract from their chaotic and discredited government.”

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