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Hundreds of jobs under threat at rail maintenance depot

New rolling stock is blamed for the planned closure of Gemini Rail Services in Glasgow.

Closure: Around 200 jobs are at risk.
Closure: Around 200 jobs are at risk. Google 2018

Around 200 jobs are under threat with the planned closure of a rail maintenance depot.

Unite said the closure of Gemini Rail Services in Springburn, Glasgow, would lead to a "ludicrous situation" where the maintenance of Scotland's rail stock would be carried out in England.

Gemini recently took over Knorr Bremse Rail Services and said there was an "unsustainable decline" in demand for maintenance due to the introduction of new rolling stock.

The company is to open a consultation with staff "where all options will be explored with a view to avoiding redundancies".

Unite said it has raised concerns over the future workload of the site with the company and the Scottish Government.

A spokesman for Gemini Rail Services said: "It is with deep regret that Gemini Rail Services has had to announce to employees its proposal to close the Springburn site in Glasgow.

"It is very clear, as it has been for some time, that numbers of pre-privatisation rolling stock which have been the cornerstone of business for many years, are in severe decline.

"Due to the introduction of more modern vehicles, the number of pre-privatisation vehicles in service will reduce by 80% in the next five years.

"Furthermore, Springburn will continue to suffer an unsustainable decline in demand, due to its location, as only around 10% of the rolling stock that will be accessible is in Scotland and the North of England. As such, it is necessary to put forward the proposal.

"The decision to make this proposal has not been made lightly.

"We recognise the dedication and hard work of all staff at Springburn and know this will be an upsetting period for them and their families."

"The proposed closure will affect around 200 highly skilled jobs and lead to the ludicrous situation whereby the maintenance of Scotland's rail stock would be carried out in England."
Pat McIlvogue, Unite

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, said: "The proposed closure will affect around 200 highly skilled jobs and lead to the ludicrous situation whereby the maintenance of Scotland's rail stock would be carried out in England.

"This situation is completely unacceptable, which is why Unite has been raising this issue with the Scottish Government over a number of months now.

"We have been fobbed off on the basis that talks between the Scottish Government and Gemini Rail Services UK Ltd were forthcoming.

"We believe there is a significant body of work which can sustain the site until the end of next year at the very least."

Local MSP Bob Doris said:"I have spoken to Unite who are rightly angry about Gemini's decision to close the Springburn site.

"Employing up to 200 workers, it has a skilled workforce and an active order book that could now be heading out of the country.

"It's also potentially of strategic importance to the Scottish economy and our railways. We must do all we can to save these jobs and this site and I will be raising this matter urgently at First Minister's Questions.

"Springburn was once the proud heart of the world locomotive industry and its committed workforce deserve to see a vibrant future retained at the site, not redundancy."

Two other rail depots in Kilmarnock will continue to maintenance the ScotRail fleet.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are disappointed to have been informed of the timing of this consultation and potential closure via the media, especially as we met with Gemini Rail Services as recently as last week.

"We are committed to supporting rail services and have made record investment in the sector in recent years, including new rolling stock and towards improved infrastructure.

"Although the award of contracts for heavy maintenance of rolling stock is a commercial matter for the leasing companies, we and our partners will do everything in our power to prevent this closure, including working with unions, the workforce and the company involved to explore all options."

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