Deal to end RMT rail strikes could be close, industry bosses tell MPs | Rail strikes


A deal could be close to end the long-running RMT strikes on the railwayindustry bosses have told MPs, adding that customers’ confidence is “ebbing away” as they start to switch to rival modes of transport.

Network Rail said the chances of a settlement with the union were “seven out of 10”, with just 2,000 more staff members to persuade to accept. However, the train drivers’ union, Aslef, said there was “zero” chance of an agreement in its separate dispute.

In its own evidence to the Wednesday’s committee hearing, rail union leaders said the government had “sabotaged” negotiations and their members would not accept deals that enforced changes to terms and conditions along with real-terms pay cuts.

The prospect of progress in resolving the dispute with Network Rail – where strikes have been most prolonged, and where the RMT action has had most impact through its signaling staff – appears to be higher than with train companies and drivers.

A deal worth 9% over two years, with guarantees on jobs and other benefits, was rejected in an RMT referendum before Christmasalthough the smaller numbers of staff in the TSSA and Unite unions accepted.