The Scottish Greens have accused Scotland’s biggest rail provider of “attacking” striking staff online.
ScotRail, who deny the allegations, has posted on Twitter in recent days informing customers of impending disruption on Sunday as a result of strike action by the RMT union over rest day payments.
Mark Ruskell, the transport spokesman for the Scottish Greens, urged the operator to resolve the dispute.
“The Transport Secretary must make it immediately clear to (ScotRail operator) Abellio that it has a duty to its staff, and passengers, to resolve this situation,” he said.
“It is a problem of the operator’s own making and one that it has an obligation to fix.
“Ministers are ultimately responsible for the operation of our railways and cannot sit back while the private operator attacks the frontline staff who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to keep our railways running.
“The Scottish Greens are strongly supportive of moves to bring ScotRail entirely into public hands, but until that happens, Government must keep pressure on the private operator to respect their industrial obligations and treat their workers with respect.”
The disruption is expected to hit Scotland fans, who will be returning north of the border over the weekend following the men’s national team game in London on Friday night.
Following the messages from ScotRail, the official RMT Twitter account accused the operator of trying to turn the public against the striking workers.
“These pathetic attempts to turn the public against your own members of staff really need to stop @ScotRail,” it said.
“Instead of these despicable social media own goals why not try and negotiate a settlement with us?”
David Simpson, the operations director at ScotRail, accused the union of spreading “misinformation”.
He said: “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.
“You would think the Scottish Greens would realise that 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 and they would not repeat the continuing misinformation put out by the RMT.
“The RMT strike is completely wrong, divisive and is putting the jobs of clear thinking, reasonable colleagues at risk.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We fully appreciate the efforts of rail workers in keeping services moving for key workers, however it must be recognised that the Scottish Government has already supported both franchises with around £1bn, including an extra £450m through the emergency measures agreements.
“This has ensured every employee has benefited from full pay throughout the pandemic at a time when services and revenue have fallen by up to circa 95%, all while other industries have faced furlough and redundancies.
“In terms of negotiating any change of terms and conditions, collective bargaining rests with the operator and unions concerned.
“While franchisees are authorised to negotiate pay increases, there is quite simply no additional funding available at this time and any increase, including payments for rest day working, would need to be funded by efficiencies agreed through meaningful discussions.”
She added: “Given the pressures on public sector finances as a whole, coupled with projections that passenger numbers and revenues won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for quite some time, it is only prudent to identify efficiency savings.
“We know that managers at both franchises have sought to bring forward such proposals for savings, therefore it is time for all parties to make serious efforts to resolve these issues for the benefit of passengers, the economy and, not least, the staff who continue to lose wages through these unnecessary strikes.”