SCOTRAIL bosses have reached an agreement with workers over a long-running pay dispute.

The move brings an end to an overtime ban which had been blamed for widespread cancellations and disruptions.

It comes as Transport Secretary Michael Matheson insisted passengers "deserve better" than the railway's current performance.

However, he argued many of the recent delays and cancellations have been caused by factors outwith ScotRail’s control.

He told a Holyrood committee there had been an "unacceptable level of cancellations" in recent days.

He said: "What I've also made clear to [ScotRail] is that the communication of the significant impact these cancellations were having on the travelling public was not to the standard I expect.

"I understand there has been a convergence of challenging issues that they have had to try and manage and deal with as best they can, however, the travelling public deserve better.

"They should have communicated that much more clearly, at a much earlier stage, to allow the public to understand the potential impact it would have had on the services they were looking to use."

Mr Matheson said 59.5% of recent delays were caused by Network Rail, which owns and manages rail infrastructure across the UK.

He said he met with ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes earlier this week, who blamed the disruption on the late arrival of refurbished stock and an industrial dispute.

RMT union members banned overtime in a row over being paid less than train drivers for working on rest days.

Mick Hogg, the union's regional organiser in Scotland, said he was “absolutely delighted that common sense has eventually been reached”.

He said: "This has been a dispute created by ScotRail, not the trade union.

"We argued from the outset that it was wrong and that ScotRail were giving drivers a colossal amount of money for working their rest days.

"We were seeking, as a trade union, equalisation within the workplace.

"Unfortunately it's taken action by RMT members for ScotRail to sit up and take sense."

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: "I am pleased that an agreement has been reached with RMT to resolve the union's rest day working dispute with us.

"I know this has been a difficult time for everyone involved and I hope that we can now focus on delivering for our customers, as we build the best railway Scotland has ever had."