Prime Minister (Meetings)

Part of First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:01 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 12:01 pm, 8th March 2007

Mr Gallie can occasionally be excitable, but at least he is entertaining and consistent.

I will be clear: responsibility for the dispute and for resolving it lies with the employers and the employees. However, it seems clear to me—as it was yesterday, the day before and the day before that—that Network Rail is willing to have further discussions, which is why there has been communication every day this week. Network Rail has been reasonable and there is a deal in every other part of the country, so the trade union—the RMT—should accept the offer of discussions this afternoon. Having made its point in the first 24 hours of action, the RMT should call off the action for the second 24 hours. It should allow commuters and passengers who want to enjoy the benefits of improved rail travel in Scotland—whose numbers continue to increase—to get back on the trains so that they can get to work and get home again, too. The trade union should accept Network Rail's offer and I believe that it should do so immediately.