MEMBERS of ScotRail’s main union rejected a 5% pay offer on Thursday and threatened a strike ballot if the operator refuses to offer an improved deal. 

Train workers, station staff and others in the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) voted by 60% to 40% against the offer, which is believed to be largely similar to one accepted by the drivers’ union Aslef last month. 

RMT Scottish organiser Mick Hogg said: “I am under instruction to meet the company and see what it is prepared to offer. 

“If that is not acceptable, there will be a ballot for industrial action.”

Hogg said he was expecting the meeting with ScotRail to take place next week. 

Any ballot for industrial action will likely take several weeks to organise, with the union required to give at least a week’s notice of a walkout, so any official action is unlikely to have an impact on trains during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

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It is also less likely that there will be any significant disruption from unofficial action in the interim, such as RMT members refusing to volunteer for overtime or to work on days off. 

This is due to the fact ScotRail rely less on drivers working overtime to keep services running.

ScotRail’s previous reliance on drivers working overtime forced it to cut services by up to half when many drivers stopped volunteering as part of their pay dispute which was settled last month. 

The RMT had recommended rejecting the deal because it included the “introduction of technology without an agreement”. 

However, Hogg said he would be looking for an improvement in the pay offer as well as more acceptable conditions in the technology clause.

ScotRail said that the 5% offer, which was accepted by Aslef members last month, comprised a 2.2% increase “to recognise the cost of living challenges” and a further 2.8% increase “which recognises and rewards the flexibility of rostering arrangements as ScotRail responds to changes in our markets as we emerge from the pandemic”. 

A Transport Scotland spokesperson: "This is a disappointing result, particularly in light of the fair and affordable offer made.

“Any continued industrial action will undoubtedly have negative impacts on passengers which, in turn, has further implications for rail finances.

"The required timetable changes and cancellations also discourage a return to rail at a time when we are trying to build back patronage.

“Despite this disappointing outcome, we are still very much committed to working with the RMT union to reach a mutually favourable outcome to this dispute.

“We would urge all parties to get back round the table as soon as possible so that this can be resolved soonest for the benefit of staff, passengers and the economy.”