SCOTLAND’S railways could see “absolute havoc” this festive season unless workers’ pay demands are met, a union has threatened.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are considering plans to strike each Friday and Saturday in the run up to December 25, including Christmas Eve, as it battles to win higher wages from newly nationalised ScotRail.

RMT has also announced plans for a strike on November 19, the day Scotland are due to face Argentina in a rugby international at Murrayfield.

Furthermore, an RMT strike which does not involve ScotRail staff is nevertheless due to impact heavily on services north of the Border on November 5, 7, and 9.

Mick Hogg, RMT’s regional organiser, said a resolution needed to be found in the dispute, but warned “if no solution is found soon it’ll be absolute carnage, absolute carnage in Scotland’s railway”.

Hogg said: “We don’t want the carnage. We do not want the havoc, but if a resolution is not found soon there will be absolute havoc.”

The Scottish Government branded the potential festive walkouts “disappointing” and warned workers that “this will not lead to any increased pay offer”.

“If carried out, these strikes would potentially leave RMT members far worse off at a time when many will already feel the impacts of the costs crisis,” a government spokesperson said.

Retailers are also fearing what could happen if the strikes go ahead.

“This latest bout of rail strikes is the last thing retailers need at what is the critical trading period of the year for many stores,” said David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium.

“This further train disruption could deter shoppers and derail retail’s recovery and it is imperative both sides in the dispute get back round the negotiating table as soon as possible and thrash out a solution.”

Hogg told STV there would be a meeting between the sides on Friday, and that he was hopeful there would be focus on finding a solution.

A revised pay offer was rejected by the union last week, which ScotRail said would have boosted wages for the lowest paid staff by 7.5%. Other staff would have seen their pay cheques increase by 5%, plus add-ons.

Hogg said he wanted a “decent cost of living pay increase that actually reflects where the inflation rate is” for his members.