Rail strikes nearly OVER as Rishi Sunak caves to Mick Lynch's demands to end Britain's misery
A deal to end most of England’s rail strike misery is in ‘touching distance’
Ministers are understood to have offered an increased pay deal and scaled back demands for driver-only operated trains in the hope of bringing rail strikes to an end.
A deal is thought to be in “touching distance” as Whitehall insiders claim there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” in the dispute with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).
The proposal includes a nine per cent pay increase split over two years, with four per cent in one year and five per cent in the other.
In a bid to seal a deal with union bosses, ministers are understood to have softened their demands that train guards are phased out – leaving drivers to run trains alone.
A meeting on Monday between Downing Street and the RMT executive is seen as a critical moment with hopes of the union agreeing on a deal.
Reaching a deal with Mick Lynch, RMT’s general secretary, would be a major development following Christmas chaos which saw multiple walkouts.
However, settling with RMT would not end all train strikes as Aslef are still threatening industrial action.
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The stand-off with the RMT has been one of the longest-running waves of industrial action - lasting half a year.
On Monday, Huw Merriman, the rail minister, met Mr Lynch as well as senior figures at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train operating companies, and Network Rail, the state-backed owner of tracks, stations and signals.
The Government’s insistence on strapping guards on trains has been long sought by ministers who see the set-up as unnecessary while unions have argued the risk of safety.
But the demand is thought to have been scaled back to reach an agreement according to The Telegraph.
A statement issued by RMT after talks with the Rail Delivery Group 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.”
An offer by RMT would only be accepted in writing before being considered by its executive which will either being rejected or put to members in a referendum.
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