Rail workers have taken to the streets of Aberdeen to voice their demands as a nation-wide industrial action wreaks disruption to services across Scotland.
All trains across the north and north-east have been cancelled today as thousands of RMT members, as well as 13 train operators, join forces in the biggest rail strike for a generation.
Strikes will also be held on Thursday and Saturday.
It comes after last-ditch talks between the union and Network Rail failed to resolve the bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions – with all sides blaming each other for the lack of progress.
RMT union members in Aberdeen gathered on the city’s South College Street and joined the fight, armed with banners, flags and posters.
Aberdeen Trade Union Council (ATUC) members also took a stand outside the city’s train station in solidarity and support to their fellow workers.
ATUC retired delegate Tommy Campbell said: “It’s great to see so many people passing by showing their support for all rail workers and what we are doing here today.
“Workers don’t want to go on strikes and taking that decision is never easy – this is always the last resort and it’s unfortunate that it has to cause such disruption.
“We need a real and adequate rail service for customers – but that service is provided and made possible by the rail workers, and we need to acknowledge and respect that.
“As a trade union, we are determined to continue supporting rail workers in their discussions with the government and the rail operators until they reach an agreement, which treats rail workers fairly and respectfully.”
More disruption for rail users ahead
As a result of the strike action, only five routes will be in operation in Scotland today, as well as on Thursday and Saturday.
Services will primarily be restricted to main lines, but even those will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
However, ScotRail delivery director David Simpson has warned rail users that the industrial action is expected to affect services beyond the planned dates.
Mr Simpson added: “Regrettably, the disruption caused by the RMT Network Rail strike action extends to the days following strike action as well.
“This is due to Network Rail signal boxes across Scotland’s Railway opening at different times throughout the day.
“It means, for some routes, it may be later in the day before we’re able to operate services as normal.
“I’d encourage anyone planning to travel on the railway on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, to check their journey in advance to see if their train is running, and on days of strike action to only travel if they really need to on the five routes where services are operating.”