The RMT has confirmed it has reached a deal with train operators that could bring their long-running dispute to an end.
In a statement, the union said it had come to a “mutually agreed way forward” with the Rail Delivery Group that would see staff get a pay rise backdated to 2022 – along with “job security guarantees”.
They will now put the deal to their members in a vote, and if they give it their support, it will end the RMT’s strike mandate – leading to “a pause and respite from industrial action over the Christmas period and into spring next year”.
The union’s general secretary Mick Lynch welcomed the agreement described it as “a very modest offer”, adding: “We’re not jumping up and down about it.”
However, he said the “conditions” attached to previous proposals from the RDG – including accepting ticket office closures and job losses – had been dropped.
“Basically, the government has had to do a U-turn since their massive defeat over ticket offices and other matters, and they’ve now made up a proposal that is not conditional on ripping up our members’ contracts of employment and making thousands of people redundant,” said Mr Lynch.
“So we’ve got a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies through to the end of next year – something that we were told we would never get by the pundits and people in the media … and now we’ve got a proposal that does just that.
“But it’s a very modest pay offer, so our members will think very seriously about that. But if they do accept, there’s no need for strikes and we will go into a period of six months where we’re discussing [other] issues.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said they welcomed the RMT’s decision to put the “fair and reasonable offer to its members in a referendum, marking a positive step towards resolving this dispute”.
They added: “The Rail Delivery Group’s offer guarantees no compulsory redundancies and a fair pay rise, while ensuring we can take forward much-needed reform to secure the future of our railways.
“We hope RMT members will recognise the benefits, accept this offer and put an end to the RMT’s industrial action.”
The breakthrough in negotiations comes after almost 18 months of industrial action from the union, which represents workers from across the rail industry, including station staff and guards.
But the ASLEF union – which represents train drivers – has still not come to an agreement over their own pay and conditions.