A UNION has accused the Dutch state-owned operator of Scotland's railway services of a "stunt" by "trying to turn" the Tartan Army against ScotRail staff.

RMT has described as "despictable and desperate" an attempt by Abellio, which runs ScotRail services for blaming staff for disruption to services for the Scotland v England game because of an ongoing strike over overtime payments.

The union said it was an attempt to "turn Scottish football fans against hard working Scotrail staff fighting for pay justice, equality and fairness from their greedy private sector employers".

But they said that it has "backfired spectacularly" as it sparked a storm of protest on social media "backing the ScotRail workforce.

ScotRail's operations director David Simpson said that the union's accusation was "more than embarrassing".

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Union leaders were enraged by a tweet from ScotRail which said: "Away in London this weekend for the England v Scotland game tomorrow? For return journeys, @RMTUnion strike action means there will be no onward connections within Scotland on Sunday "Services on Saturday and Monday will run as normal. Please plan your journey ahead of time."


RMT said that this was an attempt to blame staff for any disruption "even though" the big game is on Friday and the next strike is on Sunday.

It said that company has still refused talks to try and broker a settlement before the weekend.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "It is is despicable that Abellio have tried ‎to turn Scottish football fans against Scotrail workers and I want to thank the public for standing with their front line rail workers against this greedy cowboy outfit.

"It's time for the SNP and Transport Scotland to stop this damaging and dangerous nonsense on Scotand's railways and force their contractors to cut a deal that recognises fairness and equality for all Scotrail grades."

The warning from ScotRail went on to state that 15 per cent of ScotRail services will be running north of the border because of ongoing strike action by the RMT union in a dispute about overtime payments.

It said: "The highly disruptive strike action has been confirmed to run until Sunday, 25 July, having a massive impact on people as the railway, and the country tries to return to a level of normality.

"It’s expected that hundreds of Scotland supporters will arrive into Glasgow Central, and Edinburgh Waverley on Sunday, with only a limited number of ScotRail trains running in the Strathclyde area.


"And fans are also being reminded that any services that are available will be subject to ScotRail’s alcohol ban which is still in force during the tournament."

In the warning, Phil Campbell, ScotRail customer operations head said: “We hope Scottish fans returning from Wembley will be celebrating after the England game and the last thing we want to do is put a dampener on their party spirit.

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“However, yet again, the unjustified and disruptive Sunday strike action called by the RMT union, which wants 50 per cent more pay for working the same number of overtime hours, is inconveniencing customers at the worst time.

“We are urging fans coming back on Sunday to make sure they have made plans for their onward journeys after they arrive at Glasgow Central station or Edinburgh Waverley.”

ScotRail hit back at the union's latest accusations saying the RMT union is "once again misrepresenting what is actually happening".

"ScotRail is facing its most serious financial crisis and we are only surviving due to emergency taxpayer support of more than £400million. This has allowed us to protect jobs, without using furlough, cutting wages, or reducing staff benefits," it said.

"We appreciate the hard work of everyone in the railway to keep key workers moving during the pandemic. The focus of everyone should be on making the railway an attractive travel option for passengers, so we can recover ScotRail, keep people moving, and secure long-term jobs for our colleagues.

"The RMT has claimed there is ‘no weakening of resolve’, for their divisive strike action, but fail to acknowledge that their engineering members, when balloted for strikes in recent weeks, refused to back the call.

"Support failed to reach the legal threshold of 50 per cent of the total number of people entitled to vote, so the action was rejected. The proposed action short of a strike also did not meet the legal threshold for those voting yes.

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director added: “Hundreds of fans are expected to travel back to Scotland on Sunday, after the match on Friday, and we have a duty to let people know that when they do return, there will be very few services operating due to strike action by the RMT.

“It is more than embarrassing for the union to accuse us of scoring an own goal just because we are meeting our obligation to customers by advising them to make sure they have arranged their onward travel from Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley.

“The RMT strike is completely wrong, divisive and is putting the jobs of clear thinking, reasonable colleagues at risk.”