Unite launches campaign to save Springburn rail depot as Gemini Rail serves closure notice
- Thursday 17 January 2019
Unite the union has today (17 January) reacted with fury at the decision by Gemini Rail Services to serve notice on the Springburn depot initiating a forty-five day consultation period. The company, formerly known as Knorr Bremse Rail Services Ltd, made the announcement despite pleas for more time from politicians and the workforce.
Unite has launched a campaign - ‘Rally Roon the Caley’ - based on the depot’s local name. The campaign has 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.
The Scottish Government’s immediate intervention to bring the depot under its control as an asset of strategic importance in Scotland’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.
In December last year, Gemini announced its intention to close the depot, threatening 200 highly-skilled direct and indirect jobs. The Springburn depot carries out service, maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrades on all trains for ScotRail. If the proposed closure goes ahead it will mean the repairs and maintenance of Scotland’s rail stock being carried out in England.
This week, Unite representatives met with the UK Rail Minister, Andrew Jones MP, and Gemini management at Westminster to discuss the situation as a parliamentary adjournment debate lodged by local MP, Paul Sweeney, was held on the potential closure. Unite representatives are scheduled to meet the Scottish Government Transport Minister, Michael Matheson, next week for further discussions on saving the depot. Cross-party politicians along with Unite had urged Gemini to delay serving notice based on a more detailed examination of the company’s financial status in order to fully explore different options for the depot, which the company ignored. In 2017, Knorr-Bremse who owned the depot until the name change in November 2018, announced a significant improvement in its financial position with a pre-tax loss of £5.3m from £15.6m loss 2016.
Pat McIlvogue, regional industrial officer, said: “Unite has launched our campaign to save the Springburn depot ‘Rally Roon the Caley’ and we believe viable solutions are on the table. The reality is that we now have 45 days to save the depot as a result of Gemini’s utterly disgraceful behaviour of ignoring calls by both the Scottish and UK Governments, and most importantly the workforce, for more time. We now require immediate intervention to support the electrification of the depot and for it to be brought under the control of the Scottish Government.”
“The union’s plan is feasible and the Prestwick airport example sets a precedence. The Springburn depot not only has a proud past but it can play a strategic role in the nation’s transport infrastructure for years to come. We recognise that Gemini’s decision has put the Scottish Government in this position, but ultimately it now has a decision to make either to support our plan or lose the depot in 45 days time.”
For more information contact Pat McIlvogue on 07918631805.
Notes to editor:
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Andrew Jones MP) during the Westminster adjournment debate (14 January) said:
“The Government are investing a record amount of money. The budget for the next control period — CP6, starting in April this year — is £48 billion to boost performance and sustain growth. The budget for the Scottish rail industry will be £4.8 billion. The provision of rail services in Scotland is obviously a matter for the Scottish Government, but I wanted to highlight that significant figure. The CP6 funding settlement provides more funding than would have been allocated under the Barnett formula, so it is a generous settlement that provides ample funding for the Scottish railway.”
Source: Hansard https://bit.ly/2QXwzgy
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.