SCOTLAND'S railways face another day of disruption as ScotRail faces a third day of strike action this weekend in a bitter dispute over overtime payments.

The rail union RMT said the action involving ScotRail conductors is going ahead on Sunday as the company is "refusing point blank" to engage in talks aimed at addressing the issue of "equality over enhanced payments for rest day working.

The union says that two days of action in the dispute so far have been solidly supported the across the franchise which is operated by state-owned Dutch train operator Abellio.

RMT says this reinforces the anger of staff at the company’s "wholesale failure to treat their conductors with the fairness and equality with other grades that they so clearly deserve".

The run of strikes were due to take place on Sundays till May 2 – and could potentially be extended if no deal is reached with the company.

RMT says that Abellio, in the dying months of their franchise, are "quite happy to cancel services wholesale rather than engage in serious talks with the union as they seek to milk every last penny out their ScotRail contract before they are kicked out".

In a separate dispute around the same issue RMT ticket examiner members voted overwhelmingly for action on Thursday and the union’s executive will be deciding on tactics with that mandate in hand.

ScotRail warned customers to expect "significant travel disruption" on Easter Sunday because of the strike action by the RMT during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said the action was aimed at increasing overtime payments at a time "when ScotRail is facing its worst ever financial crisis".

It has warned that the action would have a "significant impact on people who need to travel, including NHS workers delivering a critical service during the pandemic".

READ MORE: ScotRail attacks 'reckless' union bosses as it faces new strike action after ticket examiners ballot

"The strike comes with passenger numbers and revenue down more than 90 per cent compared to before the pandemic. Coronavirus restrictions, including the instruction for people to work from home, have resulted in the number of people travelling with ScotRail to plummet," it said.

Greenock Telegraph:

"Throughout the pandemic, ScotRail has continued to provide services for key workers who are reliant on trains to get them to work in order to perform life-saving duties on the emergency front-line, hospitals, and care homes. The railway is now supporting the rollout of the vaccine.

"The RMT balloted its conductor members despite all ScotRail jobs being protected thanks to emergency Scottish Government support, with no staff placed on furlough or any cuts to basic wages or terms and conditions."

It said an emergency measures agreement (EMA) has been agreed with the Scottish Government, which will continue until at least September 2021, and means ScotRail can continue to operate services for key workers and keep its 5,200 staff in secure jobs.

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said that the political leadership in Scotland can "no longer sit on the fence and ignore these disputes in their back yard".

He said: “I want to pay tribute to our ScotRail conductors who have stood firm from day one in this dispute in a fight for basic pay justice and equality with other grades. It is frankly disgusting that these same staff, who have kept Scotland’s key workers moving during the pandemic, have been repaid with a kick in the teeth from this greedy and aggressive company.

“Abellio are happy to keep this dispute running, cancel services and bleed the franchise dry rather than engaging in serious talks over workplace justice with the union. That is a disgrace.

"It's time for serious talks, a serious approach to workplace fairness and justice and a serious solution to ‎be reached.

“Our action goes ahead on Sunday and the union stands shoulder to shoulder with our conductor members.”

ScotRail has received more than £400 million in extra government subsidy to allow it to operate a service for key workers and pay staff wages in this year alone.

Members of the RMT trade union voted 238 to 44 in favour of strike action in the ticket examiners dispute and 254 over 28 for industrial action short of a strike.

It is not yet known whether any action will take place on the same days as strikes being carried out by conductors.

ScotRail claimed conductors are trying to force an increase in overtime payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rail firm is now awaiting further information from RMT over the outcome of the ticket examiner vote and its potential impact on train services.