Three months after COP26 the members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have staged a protest march in central Edinburgh about the “betrayal of COP26 promises”.
This is the beginning of a campaign to increase pressure on politicians in the run up to local elections in May. Their leaflet is embedded below setting out the union’s demands on government.
The union claims that instead of cutting climate change the government is cutting rail services including the opening hours of ticket offices, timetables and infrastructure. At the same time the cost of rail travel is increasing at four times the rate of using a car.
The union members were supported by Richard Leonard MSP, Kenny Mackaskill MP and Colin Fox former MSP and Edinburgh council candidate who all spoke on the steps of Bute House in support of the campaign.
Gordon Martin RMT Regional Organiser said: “We’re here today because The Scottish Government have quite simply failed to deliver on some of their green agenda – some of their safety agenda. For example we are talking about cuts to booking offices, Scotrail booking offices which will leave vulnerable people even more vulnerable because the booking offices will be closed earlier or they will be closed completely. They are also cutting back on rail infrastructure projects which goes against the green agenda.
“This is a clear message to politicians. They work for us and cutting back on railway projects isn’t working for the people. It’s working against the people.”
In the ferry sector ministers appear to be gearing up for privatisation – and the union says this means profit will be put before climate.
In the energy sector the unions asserts that ministers have sold Scotland’s renewable energy resources on the cheap to big oil and gas companies without securing supply chain jobs.
The workers formed up leaving from Waverley and marching upon the First Minister’s official residence at Bute House.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “COP26 started only three months ago but already the lofty rhetoric about fighting climate change seems a distant memory as we witness a betrayal of ambitions by the SNP / Green Government to move towards a greener Scotland.
“Instead of cutting climate change the Government is cutting rail services and ticket offices, threatening the privatisation of our lifeline ferry services and doing far too little to protect the livelihoods of energy workers and the vital service they provide.
“As the country approaches the local government elections in May this protest will be the start of a concerted campaign to persuade politicians to protect these services and jobs which are so vital to our local communities.”