Nicola Sturgeon urged to intervene to stop rail strike hitting Cop26 summit

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epa05397952 Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a news conference at the Scotland House on her visit in Brussels, Belgium, 29 June 2016. Sturgeon met European Parliament leaders for talks on the future of Scotland's relation with the EU. A slim majority of people in Britain had in a referendum on 23 June voted to leave the European Union (EU). EPA/GEOFFREY VAN DER HASSELT / POOL

Nicola Sturgeon is being urged to personally intervene and try to resolve a long-running rail dispute which could see staff take strike action during the forthcoming UN Cop26 climate change summit.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union, accused rail bosses of having “dragged their heels over further talks”, despite the fact that the “clock is ticking” to the start of the summit.

Thousands of delegates from across the globe, including world leaders such as US president Joe Biden, will be in Scotland for the crucial climate change talks, which get under way on October 31.

With that in mind, Mr Lynch said he had now written to the First Minister “calling on her to intervene as a matter of urgency to bring about a fair resolution” to the dispute.

In his letter to Ms Sturgeon he said: “It is completely within the Scottish Government’s powers to resolve these disputes before Cop26 commences – it needs to stop stonewalling these key workers and give them the justice, respect and reward they deserve.”

Earlier this week members of another rail union, the TSSA, voted to accept the pay offer from ScotRail.

It comes after Scotland’s railways have seen months of industrial action, with most Sunday services cancelled.

The RMT union meanwhile still plans to strike during the Cop26 climate conference.

Mr Lynch said: “It is frankly disgraceful that rather than getting all parties round the table for meaningful talks to bring about a fair resolution to these disputes, the Scottish Government is still failing to intervene, despite being in control of the ScotRail franchise and having a major interest in the Sleeper service.”

He added: “RMT has made clear from the outset that it is open to meaningful talks.

“Therefore it is disappointing that with the clock ticking and just days to go until COP26, ScotRail and the Sleeper have dragged their heels over further talks, preferring instead to issue inflammatory and misleading communications to its workforce.