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Train strikes: New offer to be made to unions

Train strikes: New offer to be made to unions

Rail workers are expected to be offered an improved deal by train operators as soon as today.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is expected to boost its previous offer to the three main rail unions: the RMT, Aslef representing train drivers, and the white-collar TSSA.

The RDG is negotiating on behalf of train operators, but any deal must be signed off by ministers.

Speaking on Peston on ITV on Wednesday night, the transport secretary, Mark Harper, said a “renewed offer” will be tabled on Thursday.

He said: “I’m hopeful that now there is a renewed offer on the table, that that can happen.

“There are conversations going on between various of the unions and the companies. I’m hopeful we’ll make some progress in the coming days.“

Sources suggest the offer of a backdated 4 per cent rise for 2022 and the same percentage for 2023 could be increased to 5 per cent for each year.

In addition, the demand for an expansion of “driver-only operation” (DOO) or “driver-controlled operation” (in which the driver opens and closes train doors but at least one other staff member is on board) is likely to be watered down.

A pay offer made last month in which an expansion of DOO was stipulated was immediately thrown out by the RMT.

At a session of the Transport Select Committee on Wednesday, the union leader, Mick Lynch, said: “We will never sign up to accepting DOO. It will never happen while I am general secretary. It will never happen as long as the RMT exists.

“We will never accept the removal of more guards from trains. We won’t accept that, and we won’t continue with any talks that has that as a pre-requisite.”

The Rail Delivery Group says driver-only operation is “already present across 45 per cent of services carrying 55 per cent of passengers, and has been running safely for almost 40 years”. 

Mr Lynch accused the Department for Transport (DfT) of “deliberate torpedoing of the talks,” saying: “It is the DfT that have insisted on this.

“Nothing happens in this industry without the secretary of state and the 50 people in the DfT today, who are working on this dispute and what they call workforce reforms.”

The RMT leader said nine previously undiscussed clauses were added to the offer document on a Sunday afternoon in early December

“To me, it’s sabotage, and they wanted these strikes to go ahead.

“They got the…

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