Helensburgh and Dumbarton Central stations.

By Lucy Ashton

A fresh pay offer is expected to be made to ScotRail workers in a bid to end six months of industrial action, the Scottish government has said.

The rail operator has cancelled numerous services following a pay dispute with train conductors.

ScotRrail engineers have now also voted to take part in a series of strikes during Glasgow’s COP26 event.

However, the government said it was hopeful “an appropriate and fair pay increase” could be agreed.

Rail services across Scotland have been disrupted for months by industrial action, with disagreements over pay and planned cuts in the wake of reduced passenger numbers as a result of the pandemic.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that the unions and management were being “actively encouraged” to seek a resolution.

He said: “We need to step back from some of the rhetoric that has been dominating the agenda of late and focus on trying to get a suitable outcome to this.

“But we are in a challenging position, financially. To put this in perspective, prior to the pandemic we were spending circa £1.1bn a year on Scotland’s railways. We are currently spending north of £1.5bn. That isn’t sustainable, so we have got significant challenges.”

He said the government was encouraging the company and staff to consider where efficiency savings could be made, in part, to fund a pay increase.

He added: “I understand that later today the unions and ScotRail are meeting and a fresh offer is likely to be tabled. It’s one I hope that the unions will view in the spirit that it is going to be made and consider settling these disputes.”

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