RMT has called strikes on ScotRail from 1-12 November, and from 31 October-2 November and 11-13 November on the Caledonian Sleeper. Both strikes could potentially impact the COP26 international climate change conference, which is taking place in Glasgow from 31 October-12 November. Workers on ScotRail voted by an 84% majority for the strikes.
Workers at both companies are fighting for a decent pay deal. ScotRail is operated by Dutch firm Abellio, but the Scottish government is due to take over the running of the service by the end of March 2022. Caledonian Sleeper is operated by Serco, but already overseen by the Scottish government. This means the SNP, which claims to be a pro-trade-union, social-democratic party, could directly intervene to meet workers' demands and avert strikes. It has not done so.
An RMT statement said: "Both Scotrail and the Caledonian Sleeper have had adequate time to come up with a fair pay settlement for Scotland's rail workers in advance of COP26. Instead they have kicked the can down the road and left us with no option but to put this action on today.
"We know that these strikes will close rail services in Scotland but the blame for that lies with Abellio, Serco, and the political leadership at Holyrood."
Engineering workers on ScotRail, organised by Unite, will also strike during COP26, on 1-2, 10-11, and 12-13 November. 78% voted to strike on a 68.4% turnout. 92% voted to take industrial action short of a strike. Somewhat worryingly, an initial strike planned for 18-19 October was called off "in a spirit of goodwill" following negotiations.