Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

RMT meets minister to discuss Airdrie-Bathgate link

ScotRail train
The train drivers would operate the doors on the new route

Union leaders are to meet Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson in the new year to discuss staffing on the new Airdrie to Bathgate rail link.

The RMT has raised concerns that train operator First Scotrail plans to run driver-only services on the route which will run between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The company has insisted that ticket examiners will also work on the trains.

The union said it would urge the minister to ensure there was a guard on every service on the new link.

The £300m Airdrie to Bathgate rail link is due to open in December 2010.

It is designed to complete the "missing link" for communities between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

There will be new stations at Armadale and Caldercruix; re-located stations at Bathgate and Drumgelloch and upgraded stations at Airdrie, Livingston North and Uphall.

Under its contract with Scottish ministers, First Scotrail is required to have a second person on the train at all times.

An RMT delegation will meet Mr Stevenson on 5 January.

There would be no question of them operating if they were not safe
First Scotrail spokesman

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: "The Scottish government is responsible for the new Scotrail franchise and it should be making it absolutely clear to the company that there will be no compromise on staffing levels and that the guards will be retained on the trains.

"We will be driving that point home when we meet with the minister.

"This push for driver-only operation is contrary to contractual commitments and is all about delivering more profits for Scotrail regardless of the impact on passenger safety."

First Scotrail has previously said that driver-only trains are a "myth".

A spokesman said: "It is disappointing the scheduled reopening of the £300m Airdrie-Bathgate is at risk in a dispute over which member of staff on the train will open and close the doors.

"There would be no question of them operating if they were not safe."

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