The RMT union has announced it is working with train operators “towards a revised offer” following more talks to end strike action.
After today’s negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the RMT said: “We have had detailed discussions and we are working jointly towards a revised offer.
“Both parties have agreed to continue discussions over the next few days.”
A RDG spokesperson said: “We have had detailed discussions and we are working jointly towards a revised offer. Both parties have agreed to continue discussions over the next few days.”
Emerging after four hours of talks, RMT secretary general Mick Lynch kept things brief. No offer had been made but they were working on it, he said.
“We have been in detailed discussions with the Rail Delivery Group for the train operating companies and we are working jointly towards a revised offer for their section of the dispute and we’ve agreed that over the next couple of days we’ll continue to work on that through discussions and we’ll see what comes of it.”
Discussions took place in Paddington, London, in an attempt to reach a settlement in the dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, which has been rumbling on since strikes began last summer.
Nineteen strike days have taken place since then, eight of them spread across December and January.
But the union has announced no further strike dates for January.
It is hoped a window of opportunity could have been created by the union perhaps deciding to let rail staff work uninterrupted for a month or two. Strike action has come at a financial cost as they are not paid for strike days.
Just yesterday the RMT said, at the Transport Select Committee, it would “not go near” the offers that were on the table at the time.
At the committee Mr Lynch said Network Rail, which operates the rail infrastructure, and train operating companies were separately offering well under half what his members deserved to deal with the cost of living crisis, after years of pay freezes.
An offer from the RDG had been rejected by the RMT before Christmas, after driver-only train operation was introduced as a condition of the pay offer.
The union had long opposed driver-only operated trains on passenger safety grounds and the job losses that would ensue.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper has never denied his department had a role in introducing driver-only operated trains as a condition.
Once RMT talks with the RDG concluded for the day, another union involved in rail disputes, the TSSA, entered talks with the RDG, which represents 14 train operating companies.