Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Rail strike 'business as usual'

RMT members on the picket line
About 560 rail workers are taking part in the second walkout

Train operator First ScotRail has claimed it is "business as usual" despite a 24-hour strike by workers.

Members of the RMT union are fighting plans to have drivers instead of guards operate the doors on a new rail link between Airdrie and Bathgate.

The union is holding a second one-day stoppage over the issue, which is has described as "safety-critical".

ScotRail said it was running at least nine out of 10 trains, as it did during the previous strike.

Its special timetable aimed to provide 100% of services on many routes - including Edinburgh-Glasgow Queen Street and all services in Strathclyde, except Motherwell-Cumbernauld.

It also aimed to run Glasgow and Edinburgh services to Aberdeen and Inverness as normal.

The RMT said about 560 workers were taking part in the latest industrial action with picket lines at key railway stations.

Our members are rock solid across Scotland in their strike action in defence of rail safety and the role of the guard
Bob Crow
RMT General Secretary

Buses replaced trains on services between Glasgow and Oban, Fort William and Mallaig, parts of the Glasgow-Carlisle service, as well as in the Inverness, Kyle of Lochalsh and Thurso areas.

There were minor changes to services between Glasgow and Edinburgh to Alloa, Dunblane and Perth, as well as the Fife Circle, Newcraighall and North Berwick services from the capital.

RMT members are also due to walk out on 13 March, the day of the Scotland v England RBS 6 Nations rugby game at Murrayfield.

The £300m rail link from Glasgow to Edinburgh, via Airdrie to Bathgate, is due to open in December.

Last week, union leaders expressed anger that government agency Transport Scotland had already backed First ScotRail's plans to run the service with drivers and ticket examiners but no conductors.

'Tough choices'

RMT union general secretary Bob Crow said: "Our members are rock solid across Scotland this morning in their strike action in defence of rail safety and the role of the guard.

"RMT remains available for meaningful talks based on ensuring safety on ScotRail services in line with agreements dating back to 2001."

Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: "It is business as usual for Scotland's railway.

"Our contingency plans are such that we will run at least nine out of 10 trains - as happened during the strike last Saturday."

He added: "However, we have again had to revise some services because of the RMT's bid to cause as much inconvenience as possible to our customers.

"Tough choices have had to be taken to ensure that as many people as possible are unaffected on the day."

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