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04/10/2019 - SNP and Tories vote down motion to strip Abellio of rail franchise

scotrailA parliamentary bid to end the Abellio franchise of Scotland’s beleaguered rail service three years early has failed.

Scottish Labour tabled a motion this week, urging the SNP Government to end the contract during a “break clause”. They were backed by transport unions, including Aslef, the TSSA, and the RMT, who also called for ScotRail to be brought into public ownership. News had emerged that almost 75,000 ScotRail trains have been canceled since the Dutch firm began running the franchise in 2015. Despite support from the Scottish Greens and Liberal Democrats, the Labour motion to end the ScotRail contract in 2022 - in the belief that the train operator should be nationalised - was voted down by SNP and Conservative MSPs.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“Abellio has brought devastation to the Scottish rail network with a catalogue of failures which has severely affected both the traveling public and the workforce.

“There should be no more final warnings, no more half-baked rescue plans, and no more playing for time. Abellio should have the Scotrail franchise terminated with immediate effect on the grounds of persistent and gross mismanagement and the whole operation should be taken into public ownership."

The move not to extend the franchise was defeated after the SNP were supported by Tory MSPs.

Manuel Cortes said: “It’s clear to all and sundry that ScotRail is failing Scotland on a daily basis with this franchise. When will the SNP wake up to this and put the people of Scotland first rather than protect greedy shareholders?"