INDUSTRIAL action is edging closer after workers were rattled by a collapse in pay talks with rail bosses. 

Unite members backed industrial action by 75% and action short of a strike by 90% in a ballot held after discussions with ScotRail chiefs fell apart. 

The union has criticised the Dutch-owned franchise for withdrawing the rest day working agreement for engineers and denying workers a pay rise. 

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A representative for the union said he wants further meetings with the rail franchise - due to be nationalised in March next year - but have threatened action if bosses "refuse to engage positively". 

Pat McIlvogue, a Unite industrial officer said: "Despite the best efforts of Abellio Scotrail to apply pressure on our members not to take the next step in holding them to account our members have supported taking industrial action in this consultative ballot.

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"This should be a wake-up call to Abellio Scotrail management that Unite’s members will no longer tolerate being treated unacceptably.

"We will seek further meetings in a final attempt to find a remedy, and we will inform the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland of the result."

Syeda Ghufran, ScotRail Engineering Director, said:

“I am disappointed engineers have backed Unite’s reckless push for strike action.

“ScotRail has a proud record of providing high-paid, high-skilled engineering jobs. While other transport operators have had to cut jobs and reduced wages during the pandemic, I am proud that ScotRail has been able to protect all jobs, wages, and conditions.

“At a time when the railway faces the most serious financial crisis in its history, we need to work together to recover ScotRail, get passengers using the trains again, and build a more sustainable operation. Strike action is divisive and wrong.”