Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Saturday, 20 February 2010

RMT agrees to talks with bosses

RMT members on the picket line
RMT members gathered for a picket at Queen Street station in Glasgow

Talks will be held next week in a bid to end a dispute which has resulted in rail workers in Scotland striking.

On Saturday members of the RMT union undertook the first of three planned 24-hour walkouts.

Staff are angry at ScotRail's plan to employ ticket examiners rather than conductors on a new route which they say will jeopardise passenger safety.

The company's bosses have denied the claim regarding the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Bathgate line.

The RMT confirmed it was contacted by management and talks will be held at some point next week.

'Solid action'

General secretary Bob Crow said: "As far as the RMT is concerned we would like to see discussions at the earliest possible opportunity.

"It's important that they are meaningful talks and not just window dressing by First ScotRail.

"The fact that there are now talks in the offing is a result of the solid action shown by members across Scotland in defence of rail safety and the role of the guard."

ScotRail said that despite the industrial action, at least nine in 10 trains were running.

The train operator maintains that changing the trains for conductors to open the doors, rather than drivers, would cost taxpayers £1.4m and delay the opening of the new route.

It said the trains were "no different" to those that have run in the Strathclyde region for 25 years.

ScotRail managing director, Steve Montgomery, said he welcomed confirmation that union officials were willing to take part in meaningful talks.

Two further strikes are planned for 1 March and 13 March which is the day Scotland face England in a rugby match at Murrayfield.

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