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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Ministers Discuss Rail Strike Contingency Plans

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A meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) has been told of the impact of UK-wide rail strikes on Scotland.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney was joined by Ministers including Transport Secretary Michael Matheson and Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth to hear of the latest situation.

The Transport Minister wrote to the UK Government calling for a swift resolution to the dispute.

Yesterday marked the first of three days of strike action this week, with more planned for Thursday and Saturday with the possibility of further action over the summer.

Due to shift patterns the entire week is being disrupted, rather than just the three selected dates.

SGoRR has been up and running since this morning and will be in operation until Sunday evening to monitor impacts and oversee and co-ordinate the response from Ministers.

The meeting also heard about extra preparedness around major events such as the Royal Highland Show, freight mitigation plans from major retailers to keep supermarkets stocked as much as possible, and wider resilience plans.

Speaking after chairing the meeting, Mr Swinney said:

“With a busy summer upon us, there needs to be more urgency from UK Ministers and the Department for Transport to get this situation fixed – and fast.  

“The lack of action being taken by the UK Government is a dereliction of duty.

“We have had our own issues in Scotland but the difference between our approach and that of the UK Government could not be more stark.

“We have sought dialogue, compromise and agreement, whereas the UK Government has deliberately inflamed the situation causing misery for the travelling public.

“This meeting was an opportunity to hear from agencies and responders about the plans that are in place, and I am confident that the mitigations we can take are being taken, but we heard of the serious impact it is having on many areas and sectors of Scotland such as tourism, freight and major events.

“I am grateful to the travelling public for their considerable patience and for checking ahead, seeking alternatives, and working flexibly, where possible.

“Our resilience arrangements will remain in place for the rest of the week, however I am in no doubt that this situation can and should be addressed by the UK Government.

“The public have suffered enough and our major events organisers need to be able to look and plan ahead with certainty.”

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