Network Rail is planning to run a full service for passengers throughout Scotland if RMT signallers in the Stirling area strike next Thursday (April 26).
The company has promised that passenger trains will be unaffected by the action, which the union is taking in a bid to force the company to introduce a three day week for signallers in the Stirling North, Stirling Middle and Dunblane boxes.
Network Rail has put contingency plans in place to prevent the industrial action affecting passengers, with non-union staff and managers ready to replace RMT signallers in Stirling should a strike take place.
A Network Rail spokesman said: ““We are confident we can run a full service for passengers and that the travelling public will not be inconvenienced by the RMT.
“Meeting the union’s demand that signallers begin to work fewer days each week would mean operating a less efficient and more expensive railway.”
Signallers in Stirling voted in favour of strike action in a bid to have their long-standing eight-hour shift pattern changed to a 12 hour shift. The RMT’s unprompted demand that shift patterns be changed has been a wholly unilateral initiative and has not been triggered by any changes by Network Rail.
With signallers currently working an average of five shifts a week, the union’s proposed change would see shifts lengthened with signallers working around three days each week instead.
Moving to 12 hour shifts would mean incurring around £50,000 of additional operating costs across the three locations each year, making it significantly more expensive for Network Rail to run the railway.
This dispute only affects signallers in the Stirling area, it is not a national dispute. Only the three signal boxes named above will be involved in the action.
The union has announced two strike dates – to take place on Thursday April 26 and Wednesday May 9.
Network Rail will continue to seek a resolution to the dispute and further talks with the union will take place next week.