Labour calls for train depot facing closure to be nationalised

Labour has called for a train maintenance depot in Glasgow that is facing closure to be brought into public ownership.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard raised the impending closure of the St Rollox Railway Works announced by Gemini Rail in December, and urged the First Minister to take it into public ownership.

In response, Nicola Sturgeon criticised the “unacceptable” treatment of railway maintenance staff but rebuffed calls to nationalise the depot and called for more time for consultation with the firm.

At First Minister’s Questions, Mr Leonard said: “Time is running out to save this critical part of Scotland’s railway infrastructure and to save these 200 highly skilled jobs.”

Comparing the situation to the nationalisation of Prestwick Airport in 2013, he added: “Why is it good enough for an airport then and not good enough for our railways now?”

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was urging the firm to extend the consultation about the closure.

She said: “We will continue to apply as much pressure as we can to the company because the jobs are important and I think the way the workforce is being treated is unacceptable.

“Before we can take a decision like the one we took around Prestwick Airport – which I think was a good decision at the time – we have to undertake due diligence and look at all the different aspects.

“That is why we have encouraged Gemini Rail to extend the consultation because the current consultation period is too short to allow any serious exploration of alternative options.

“We are prepared to look at all options.”

The plant, set up in the 1850s by the Caledonian Railway Company, carries out services, maintenance and repairs of trains for Scotland and northern England.

Mr Leonard revealed that he wrote to the First Minister almost four weeks ago “stressing the urgency of the situation and you have said nothing in response”.

“The workers and their unions are awaiting a proper response as well,” he added.

“Out there in the real world, what is at stake are people’s livelihoods and a national transport asset.

“So will you take decisive action; will you step in and will you bring the Caledonian Railway Works back into public ownership?”

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