Train passengers across Scotland have once again faced severe disruption due to a fresh round of rail strikes.

Industrial action by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail began on Wednesday morning, with just five ScotRail services running across the country including between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

READ MORE: The people of Glasgow react to rail strikes by RMT union members

Picket lines have been mounted outside railway stations throughout Scotland, including at Glasgow Central.

A protest was also planned outside Network Rail’s head office in the city.

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Speaking to the Glasgow Times, RMT regional organiser Gordon Martin said: “We’re out on strike for a number of reasons.  

“One of them is because this is the third year without a pay offer, and more importantly the UK Government are attacking jobs in terms of conditions. 

“On the jobs front, at Network Rail they are cutting 1800 to 2000 jobs, and more importantly, they’re talking about cutting the maintenance regime in half which imports real danger onto the travelling public. 

“And the train companies are talking about de-staffing the trains. So, if you are on the train as a vulnerable person, you could be in real difficulty as there will be no one there to help you.”

The 41-year-old said bosses at a high level “need to get involved in defending the industry”.

He added: “They’re on phenomenal salaries and all they’re doing is bending the knee and doing the UK Government’s bidding.  

“They need to grow a spine.  

“Until we get them doing that, this won’t get resolved and this needs to be resolved.”

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Members of Fire Brigades Union Scotland also showed up to lend their support.

John McKenzie, regional secretary at FBU Scotland, said it was “important that we support each other”.

The 40-year-old added: “You can see how organised [RMT are with the] industrial action last month and today. Ultimately it’s about building that pressure and affecting change.  

“People can’t stand idly by and watch their wages and living standards erode. It’s something that will have to continue until they affect change and something that other unions have to support them in.”

He added: “Nobody wants to have an impact on anyone but the important thing to remember is that no worker wants to take industrial action.  

“People take industrial action because they feel backed into a corner by their employers who aren’t willing to properly pay them and that’s where we are today.”

Mr McKenzie claimed FBU Scotland members were supportive of the RMT workers and said the action would encourage others to try and improve their own pay.

He added: “Where RMT are taking the lead, other workers will follow.” 

Trains are expected to be disrupted on Thursday morning, with a later start to services as employees return to duties.

READ MORE: Rail strike LIVE: Rail disruption throughout Scotland | Glasgow Times

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Despite our best efforts to find a breakthrough, I’m afraid there will be more disruption for passengers this week as the RMT seems hell-bent on continuing their political campaigning, rather than compromising and agreeing a deal for their members.

“I can only apologise for the impact this pointless strike will have on passengers, especially those travelling for holidays or attending events such as the Uefa Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

“It is frustrating to yet again ask our passengers to change their plans and only make essential journeys.”

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