Around 450 rail signallers and signal supervisors in the RMT transport union began the first of two 24-hour strikes at 12 noon on Tuesday of this week.
The workers, who are employed by Network Rail, are angry at attempts to change their rosters.
The strike on Tuesday severely affected the running of train services in Scotland. Another strike was set to begin at 12 noon on Thursday of this week.
Talks at the Acas conciliation service over the changes broke down on Monday. Scottish first minister Alex Salmond made an attempt to intervene to resolve the dispute.
But management refused to move from its insistence that it could impose roster changes at short notice.
Ian McIntyre of the RMT said, “What we have asked them to do is go back to the principles we’ve been
working on for a number of years, when they make a request to our signallers—99 times out of 100 our signallers will comply with that.
“Why make this fundamental change? There was no consultation. They’ve just changed a working practice that they never went into with us.”
Bob Crow, the RMT’s general secretary, said, “If our members are to have any chance of a decent work-life balance and the ability to make plans with their families it is important that Network Rail sticks to its side of the agreements we have.”
RMT union members voted by over two to one for strike action over the breakdown in industrial relations.