Unite the union has today (5 April) slated Michael Matheson MSP, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, for refusing to bring the Springburn Rail depot into public hands.

Unite can reveal that Gemini Rail Services, which owns the depot, invited the Scottish government to take the site into public hands and even offered the cabinet secretary a nominal fee in order to facilitate this process.

Following the latest developments, Unite has called for the urgent intervention by the Scottish parliament to force the Scottish government to reconsider taking a strategic public stake in the depot. Unite has based its campaign to keep the depot open on two key demands:

On-site electrification in order to connect the depot to the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line at an estimated cost of less than £1m. The Scottish government has been allocated £4.8 billion for rail infrastructure from Westminster.

To bring the depot under the Scottish government’s control as an asset of strategic importance to the nation’s transport infrastructure. The demand is based on the precedent set by the Scottish government who brought Glasgow Prestwick Airport under its control in November 2013.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The point blank refusal by Michael Matheson to bring the Springburn Rail Depot under the Scottish government’s control is unforgiveable. Despite our criticism of Gemini Rail, the company actually presented Michael Matheson with a viable process which would enable the depot to be taken into public hands, and even offered a considerable sum of money to make this happen.

“Instead, the workforce have been told ‘we don’t do nationalisation’. Well that’s just a lie as the Prestwick Airport example illustrates. So, this isn’t about money because as we know the depot is profitable, this is now about political hostility by the Scottish government to a solution which could secure the depot and a future for its workforce. That is why Unite is now calling on the Scottish parliament to act in the national interest by forcing the Scottish government to retain a vital part of our nation’s transport infrastructure.”


For more information contact Pat McIlvogue on 07918631805.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country's biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.