NATIONALISED ScotRail have been told they have gone too far with cutting services during the crippling pay dispute - as union leaders say drivers have been sitting around doing nothing.

The service is facing months of chaos, after a 'final' 4.2% staff pay offer was rejected without ever being put to train drivers in an expected verbal referendum, reports The Herald. 

The national executive committee of the train drivers union Aslef rejected ScotRail's pay offer in a dispute that has seen ScotRail services cut by a third due to driver shortages brought about by a work-to-rule.

Further negotiations between Aslef and ScotRail are expected tomorrow (Monday).

The dispute has resulted in thousands of service cancellations in the past three weeks on top of an emergency timetable that has seen 700 services slashed.

But Aslef Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay accused ScotRail of a "knee jerk" reaction to a host of cancellations as some train drivers have been unwilling to work rest days and Sundays - essential to keep Scotlands railways running.

He said: "We are of the belief that the ScotRail timetable cut is too deep, and that there are train drivers sitting around in every mess room just now ready and willing to drive trains, but there are no trains to drive.

"There is an excess of drivers, the numbers vary from depot to depot, because they cut the service too deep, it was a knee-jerk reaction and it was uncalled for.

"Instead of putting effort into that, effort should have been put into sitting down with us to end this dispute."

He said the excess of train drivers was the reason why ScotRail were able to put on extra late trains at the 11th hour last weekend and for the Scotland v Ukraine World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.

At the moment there are additional drivers. Whether they choose to work additional Sundays or additional days off is down to them," said Mr Lindsay.

"We don't want to go on strike. We have never been on strike in 20 years. We are desperate to negotiate a fair settlement. We just need ScotRail and the Scottish Government to get to a place that we can all settle on."

ScotRail said every effort was made to protect the services used most by key workers, and those generally busiest on routes across Scotland.

Mr Lindsay said it was wrong for some to accuse train drivers of creating a precedent for public sector workers who are also fighting for higher pay increases.

"I don't like how some are trying to play off rail workers against council workers, versus teachers, versus NHS workers," he said.

"We are all in this together and we all deliver. We need us all pulling in the one direction.

"We want a fair settlement but we hope everyone else in the public sector gets a fair settlement too.

"The reality is public sector workers all deserve a decent pay rise. We back the demands for more money to be put into our local councils.

"Train drivers don't live in Mars, we live in Scotland. We participate in Scotland. We use our council services, schools and hospitals. We want all worker paid fairly."

Passengers spoke of a “shambles” last Sunday when over 400 services were affected by the driver shortages as ScotRail were unable to put in place a temporary timetable in time.

On another chaotic ScotRail day on Monday, while the temporary weekday timetable was expected to remain in place for the Scotland v Ukraine World Cup clash, extra late trains were found at the 11th hour.

The changes came hot on the heels of a chaotic Saturday, when again late night train services were laid on at the 11th hour in some areas hours after a new driver shortage timetable released the day before had axed them.

The late train to some areas had disappeared in many areas - with final trips setting out up to four hours earlier before any night outs would have barely begun.

ScotRail were able to announce an emergency timetable on Thursday for today (Sunday). The public, however, were told they would be unable to see the arrangements until yesterday with ScotRail explaining that "customer information systems are currently updating".

It is understood the temporary Sunday timetable will see just 556 of its normal 1,088 services running.

Aslef believe ministers are sitting on a pot of money to resolve the pay dispute.

Sources say it is felt that the money set aside for a bonus scheme based on performance, could be use to improve the pay of drivers. This revolves around what ScotRail said was a revenue share premium, which rewards all colleagues where ScotRail exceeds turnover budget targets.

The scheme proposed would be backdated to April 1, 2022 and would be subject to review as part of pay talks for 2023/24.

Using the first two railway periods of 2022/23 as an example, the proposal would be worth £195 per four-week period, ScotRail said.

The train operator said it made a thorough analysis of the impact on specific areas throughout the country and are reviewing the emergency timetable regularly and are making improvements for our customers.

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: "We're sorry to our customers for the disruption they are facing as a result of the reduction in services, and we share their frustration. However, it’s right that we give greater certainty and reliability for those travelling.

"The timetable is being regularly reviewed and we have been able to make some changes to late night services for customers "We advise customers to check their journey before they travel."