Scotland’s transport unions have teamed up to call on Nicola Sturgeon to make a commitment on the future of rail in the country.
The First Minister is due to meet the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general council on Thursday.
The unions have highlighted an internal ScotRail report by Professor Iain Docherty, former non-executive director of ScotRail and Transport Scotland, which questions whether providing ticket offices will be viable in future and suggests a 10% cut to services, which would lead to the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.
In a joint statement, the Aslef, RMT, TSSA and Unite unions said: “We need cast iron commitments from Nicola Sturgeon at her meeting with the STUC general council on Thursday.
“The Scottish Government must reject the report from Professor Docherty which seeks to exploit the Covid pandemic and its fallout to attack the jobs of railway workers and cut the services they provide to the public.
“Scotland needs investment in a safe, secure, reliable and accessible public rail system that meets the needs of the travelling public and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are committed to working with the Scottish Government to provide that but we will not accept attacks on our members’ jobs and the rail services.”
A ScotRail spokesman said: “We are seeing a gradual increase in the number of customers returning to the railway due to the easing of travel restrictions and coronavirus controls, but with passenger numbers at only 50% of the pre-covid level, this is not the time to put that recovery in jeopardy.
“Railway jobs are being put at risk by the reckless actions of the trade unions and we are urging union bosses to call off divisive strikes and false narratives.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are pressing ahead to put in place arrangements to mobilise a wholly owned company of the Scottish Government to provide ScotRail services within the public sector under Scottish Government control when the current franchise expires as expected on March 31 2022.
“Transport Scotland, as part of the Rail Recovery Task Force, uses Transport Focus’s passenger pulse research to identify the changing priorities and requirements of rail passengers during and post Covid-19 which also provides a platform to assess the scale and pace of recovery from Covid 19 and, in particular, the potential to move towards our policy vision of an integrated public sector-controlled railway.”