Queries concerning the nationalisation of ScotRail: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  1. Can the Scottish government provide details of any correspondence (meetings, emails, text messages, WhatsApp messages, letters) between Scotrail/Abellio, Transport Scotland and Government Ministers relating to the Government takeover of Scotrail services?
  2. Can you provide details of any correspondence between Scotrail/Abellio and the government relating to possible staff redundancies as a result of the Government takeover of Scotrail services?


1. A link is provided below to a previous FOI answer that provides the information you have requested, presuming that by “takeover of ScotRail services” you mean the move to bring ScotRail services under Scottish Government control.

If I have misunderstood your request please do confirm by return outlining if there are specifically any topics within the mobilisation of Scottish Rail Holdings Ltd and ScotRail Trains Ltd that you are looking for as well as a given time period. This will enable us to undertake a tailored search of our records to provide any specific information you are looking for.

Correspondence regarding the nationalisation of ScotRail between 2016 to 2022: FOI release - gov.scot 

2. There is no correspondence regarding possible staff redundancies; indeed it was confirmed that there would be no staff redundancies. To that end, we have included within Appendix A the related correspondence which falls into the scope of this.

You will see that some information has been redacted against the following FOISA exemption:-

Section 38 (1) (b) – Third party data

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details of individuals and companies, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018.

This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Appendix A
Letter 1 – 29 March 2022

Scottish Rail Holdings
29th March 2022

All Abellio ScotRail employees assigned to the undertaking transferring to ScotRail Trains 


Transfer of employment from Abellio ScotRail to ScotRail Trains

As the Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Rail Holdings, I would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome you to ScotRail Trains.

ScotRail Trains is a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish Rail Holdings, the new public body wholly owned and created by the Scottish Ministers to allow for the operation of Scottish rail services through public ownership from 1 April 2022. This is an exciting time to be part of the business as it makes the transition and we look forward to working with you.

I have many friends and colleagues from my career working in Scotland with [REDACTED]. I am delighted to be back here again working with you all.

The purpose of this letter is to introduce the new arrangements for ScotRail Trains, confirm the details of the transfer of your employment to the new company and set out the initial arrangements that have been put in place for the period immediately following the transfer.

From 02.00 hours on Friday, 1 April 2022, the rail services operated in Scotland by Abellio ScotRail through its franchise will be delivered by ScotRail Trains.

We recognise that Abellio ScotRail is known as a successful railway with a good reputation across the UK for delivering a safe, reliable service and a positive customer experience. Our aim is to continue delivering the excellent levels of service that customers have come to expect and to improve further. As we continue to manage and hopefully emerge from COVID it is our priority to attract as many passengers and their revenue as possible and respond to the changing market for rail travel.

We are working to achieve a smooth transition to the new operation on 1 April and we certainly want the handover to represent a fresh start for the company. Our railway will seek to work closely with all the communities we serve. Change won’t come overnight, and we will be working hard to deliver a more financially, environmentally, and operationally sustainable railway. As is the case today we will continue to work very closely with colleagues in Transport Scotland and [REDACTED] to deliver for customers.

Over the previous few weeks we have undertaken a joint consultation and engagement exercise with your trade union representatives and Abellio ScotRail to inform and consult on measures that ScotRail Trains has proposed in connection with your transfer.

As has been set out by [REDACTED], TUPE (the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006) provides that your employment will transfer to ScotRail Trains. Your employment will transfer from Abellio ScotRail to ScotRail Trains at 02:00 hours on Friday, 1 April 2022.

Your employment with ScotRail Trains will be on your existing terms and conditions with Abellio ScotRail, your continuity of employment for statutory and contractual purposes will be preserved, and all existing policies and procedures will remain unaltered. You should continue to attend your usual place of work in the normal manner.

Consultation outcomes

From the consultation, I can now advise you that:

  1. The Scottish Public Sector Pay Policy 2022 – 23 (“SPSPP”) will apply to ScotRail Trains employees from 1 April 2022, subject to the points below.
  2. For the period April 2022 to March 2023, for those employees who have already had a pay award agreed with [REDACTED] (General Grades)) (“Affected Employees”), the agreed award of 2.2 per cent will be made on 1 April 2022, with the agreed productivity changes. An exception to the Scottish Public Sector Pay Policy will apply to affected Employees for the year starting from 1 April 2022, so that this pay agreement may be honoured.
  3. The General Grades employees who are collectively bargained for by [REDACTED] will also receive the 2.2 per cent pay award on 1 April 2022.
  4. For employees in grade groups where [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] are recognised for collective bargaining purposes, we propose to engage with the trade unions as part of the forthcoming 2022 pay negotiations, in line with existing bargaining arrangements.
  5. The obligation within the Abellio ScotRail Franchise Agreement that there will be no compulsory redundancies will come to an end on 31 March 2022. ScotRail Trains, as a new company, does not have an existing agreement on no compulsory redundancies in place. However, the Minister for Transport stated in the Scottish Parliament that there will be negotiations on this as part of the pay discussions.
  6. For organisational reasons, any employee who participates in a bonus arrangement which is linked to the performance or profits of the Abellio Group will cease to participate in those arrangements with effect from 1 April 2022.
  7. ScotRail Trains will be subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty. Changes may be made to relevant policies and procedures in due course, to ensure compliance with this.
  8. Travel benefits on other Abellio operators will cease from 1 April 2022.
  9. A small number of employees who currently report into employees of Abellio Group will have their reporting lines changed as a result of the new structure.
  10. Employees who were seconded on a long-term basis to Abellio Group from Abellio ScotRail in central services functions will have their secondments end as a result of the transfer. Their employment will transfer across to ScotRail Trains.

ID passes/Uniform

Your existing ID pass will be amended to reflect your change of employer during the early weeks of the new contract. You will be contacted separately about this. There are no planned changes to the uniform.

Organisation structure

There will be no changes to the organisational structure at the point of transfer. As a result, you will continue to report to your existing line manager unless your previous reporting line was to  an Abellio Group manager.

We will commence a review of the business following the transfer. At the appropriate time, we will discuss any proposals through the normal consultative/negotiation channels.

We thank [REDACTED] for his leadership of Abellio ScotRail and wish him well in his new role as [REDACTED]. We welcome [REDACTED] as the new ScotRail Trains Chief Operating Officer from 1 April.


You will continue to be paid on a four weekly basis and access your payslip in the usual way. Your first pay date with ScotRail Trains will be 29 April 2022.


If you are a member of the Railways Pension Scheme (the “Scheme") you will remain within the same section of the Scheme and ScotRail Trains will become the designated employer for the purposes of the Scheme.
Any existing Brass and Pension Saver arrangements will also transfer across and continue in the usual manner.

Safety Management System

The current Abellio ScotRail organisation has been safety validated by the [REDACTED] as part of their normal Safety Certificate application.

We have discussed our plans to make no changes to the organisation with [REDACTED] as part of the ScotRail Trains Safety Certificate application and it has raised no issues. As an experienced railway professional, I expect the leadership and employees of ScotRail Trains to continue to maintain high levels of personal, customer, and operational safety at all times, and the ScotRail Trains Board that I will chair will review this at every meeting.


You will continue to retain any rail travel facilities currently provided by the [REDACTED] – for example, TOC privilege travel cards, staff travel passes (residential and leisure), and international (FIP) cards. You will also continue to receive reciprocal travel facilities on the [REDACTED] service between Scotland and England.

In addition to the above we have provided various pieces of additional information about ScotRail Trains during the transfer process and we hope that we have been able to answer any concerns or questions you may have.

If you have any further questions please email them to [REDACTED]

A detailed Q&A document can also be found on the ScotRail intranet.

Please use this as an opportunity to let us know your feedback and comments about improvements you would like to see, as well as any support that you may need to continue to deliver for your customers and stakeholders.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to welcome you again to the ScotRail Trains team as part of Scottish Rail Holdings. As a welcome gesture we are pleased to share with you that from 1 May 2022, we will increase the number of friends and family standard pins you currently receive to 18 (each pin has access to four rail tickets at £6 each) and in addition we will launch a first class pin. Each employee will receive six first class pins with each return ticket costing £15 (hospitality excluded). Each pin can be accessed via the hapi benefits portal.

We look forward to supporting you as we deliver a smooth transition. It’s an exciting time for the railway and we look forward to working with you.

Best wishes,

Scottish Rail Holdings

Letter 2 – 31 March 2022 [REDACTED]
Abellio ScotRail Limited
Atrium Court
50 Waterloo Street

G2 6HQ
31 March 2022
Proposed transfer of employees from Abellio ScotRail Limited (“ASR”) to ScotRail Trains
Limited (“SRT”):

Further to our letter of 18th January 2022, I am writing to you on behalf of SRT with updated information set out in the next paragraph about the measures which it is envisaged that SRT may take affecting employees who will transfer from ASR’s employment to SRT at 02:00 on Friday 1st April 2022 (the transfer date).

As you and [REDACTED] know, and as prefaced by the above letter, SRT has consulted with
the [REDACTED] of [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] about the application of the Scottish Public Sector Pay Policy 2022-23 (SPSPP) to affected staff from 1st April 2022. SRT, as a new company, does not have an existing agreement on no compulsory redundancies in place. However, the Minister for Transport stated in the Scottish Parliament that there will be negotiations on this as part of the pay discussions.

Those discussions will continue following the 1st April 2022 as part of the pay negotiations.

Meantime, as was intimated in the consultation, ASR’s commitment to no compulsory redundancies through the current Franchise Agreement will end on 31st March 2022.

Further, as you also know, I advised the [REDACTED] on 25th January 2022 that there are no plans for any compulsory redundancies in 2022/23.

For completeness, I enclose a link to the SPSPP Foreword by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy - Public sector pay policy 2022 to 2023 - gov.scot and the letter we have sent to transferring employees welcoming them to the employment of SRT.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with you in the coming weeks, to facilitate a smooth and successful transfer for all employees.

Please let me know if you have any queries.

Yours sincerely

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top