SCOTRAIL has said that staff who are covering for striking conductors and examiners have been forced to have Pot Noodle for lunch.

The operators of Scotland's rail service have spoken out after the rail union RMT indicated that staff were getting "food parcels and other treats" as they aimed to keep trains running on Sunday.

In an increasingly bitter dispute the RMT raised concerns that Abellio were using volunteer managers as "scab labour" to act as a second person on trains who they said "do not have the knowledge, experience and safety competencies required of the job".

They said they they are being given "food parcels and other treats" that the workers who kept services running through Covid "could only dream of".

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The union said the action was "solid again" on Sunday morning as the Dutch state-owned operators of the ScotRail services, Abellio stood accused of "treating loyal front line staff with complete contempt rather than meeting with the union to settle the long running disputes over equality and justice in respect of enhanced payments for rest day working".

HeraldScotland:

ScotRail hit back saying: "The staff covering the strikes, to keep services running for customers who need them, are volunteers who have no way of making or getting lunch due to standard arrangements during strike action.

“The main part of that lunch, which includes a piece of fruit and water, is a Pot Noodle. Even the most ardent fan of the savoury snack would struggle to match the RMT’s laughable description of ‘a high-end lunch’.

“Instead of playing silly games, RMT bosses should call off the strike so everyone can focus on recovering the railway.”

The latest day of strike action is the results of an increasingly bitter dsipute over overtime payments.

The rail union RMT said the action is continuing because ScotRail will not engage in talks aimed at addressing the issue of "equality over enhanced payments for rest day working".

The run of strikes was due to take place on Sundays till May 2 – but has been extended as no deal has been reached with the company.

RMT has accused Abellio, in the dying months of their franchise, of being "quite happy to cancel services wholesale rather than engage in serious talks with the union as they seek to milk every last penny out their ScotRail contract before they are kicked out".

Ticket examiners joined their conductor colleagues in "the fight for workplace justice and fairness" at the start of April.

Of the 405 that were eligible to vote, 283 responded. Some 84% (238) of those who responded said they were prepared to take strike action in the ballot. A further 16 of those balloted said they were willing to take industrial action short of a strike.

Union leaders have expressed their anger in the past at official tweets and statements that warn that the strike "will impact on key workers making essential journeys". One message was retweeted by ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes.

Another criticised the workers for striking while "facing the biggest financial crisis in our history".

ScotRail continued to pull no punches in the dispute today.

A spokesman said: “The continuing strike action by the RMT union will have a significant impact on customers who are returning to the railway as lockdown eases. At a time when we need to attract people back to the railway to recover the business and secure jobs, the RMT’s damaging actions are wrong and will turn people away. The RMT is putting railway jobs at risk.

“ScotRail’s position on 50 per cent overtime pay increases for no additional hours worked will not change in the face of strike action, given the severe financial challenges we face.

“We will do everything we can to minimise the consequences of this action, but recognise that customers will potentially have to find alternative travel solutions as a result of this strike.”