ScotRail has expressed disappointment after train conductors in the RMT union voted in favour of strike action.
The rail operator say union bosses balloted members in a bid to force an increase in overtime payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the ballot, 75% of members (353) voted in favour of strike action and 25% (117) against, while 85% (303) voted for industrial action short of a strike – for example an overtime ban – with 15% (68) voting against.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have delivered a resounding vote for action and ScotRail need to start taking this issue seriously and stop ignoring the anger amongst their workforce which is clearly reflected in this ballot.
“The union’s executive will consider this mandate for action and take decisions on the next steps in this dispute.”
However, the move has been criticised by ScotRail, saying it is “currently facing the most significant financial crisis in its history”.
The company also said that jobs had been protected during the pandemic with “no staff placed on furlough or any cuts to basic wages or terms and conditions” as a result of emergency Scottish Government support.
David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said he was “disappointed the RMT’s conductor members have voted for strike action during a pandemic”, calling it “the wrong decision for railway staff and our passengers”.
He added: “We will do everything we can to minimise the impact on our passengers, particularly those key workers who are reliant on our services.
“Strike action at a time of national crisis, when we have required emergency government support just to stay afloat, and when we benefit from a level of job security not enjoyed by other industries, is wrong.
“It will damage ScotRail’s credibility at a time when we need to attract people back to the railway when Covid-19 restrictions allow.
“With passenger numbers down more than 90 per cent compared to the same time last year, it has never been more important for everyone in the railway to work together to build the best future for our industry.”