Transport minister Jenny Gilruth says she is “hopeful” a new pay offer being put to union members can resolve a dispute which has led to a reduction in ScotRail services.
An improved pay offer of 4.2% will be considered by members of the Aslef union this week.
The dispute resulted in train drivers refusing to work on rest days or on Sundays, leading to short-notice cancellations before the introduction of the temporary timetable last week.
Speaking in Edinburgh, Ms Gilruth told the PA news agency the industrial dispute had led to a “challenging time” for ScotRail.
Asked if a resolution to the dispute was near, she said: “I’m hopeful. Obviously the offer will be put to Aslef at their meeting tomorrow.
“And it will be up to the members to decide whether or not they want to take that forward and then whether or not it will go to a referendum of members too.”
She continued: “I’m hopeful, I think it’s a good offer that ScotRail have tabled. But it’s up to Aslef to decide whether or not they want to accept that offer.
“I know that Aslef and other trade unions in rail want to make public ownership a success. So, moving forward I’m really keen to work with them on how we do that.
“Getting a resolution here is absolutely essential.”
The transport minister said ScotRail was also meeting with the RMT to discuss pay, saying the union was involved in a separate dispute with Network Rail.
She said she had written to her UK Government counterpart, Grant Shapps, setting out her opposition to any moves which would “diminish rail safety”.
On Monday night, ScotRail announced it would be putting on extra late-night services from Glasgow to accommodate fans watching Scotland’s World Cup play-off against Ukraine at Hampden.
Discussing this, Ms Gilruth said: “I’m delighted that they have provided these additional services, which will provide some certainty for the Tartan Army.”