More than 400 rail signal workers and supervisory staff stopped work at 12pm Wednesday (7 March) in a 48-hour strike over Network’s Rail 35-hour working week agreement.
The minister told the Scottish Parliament that railways should come first and that the union should try and negotiate with Network Rail.
“I regard the strike as unnecessary and unacceptable,” McConnell said.
“I believe that is an offer the trade union should accept. They should immediately call off the second 24-hour strike, get round the table with Network Rail this afternoon, and solve this dispute in the interests of passengers across Scotland.”
RMT general secretary, Bob Crow, said: “Network Rail should understand that our members are determined to achieve the 35-hour week we agreed to last July, and it is the company that holds a very simple solution in its hands. Network Rail now has the choice of engaging constructively with us to resolve this dispute or facing a ballot of our signalling members throughout Britain.”