The union RMT has accused the UK Government of torpedoing negotiations, pushing a resolution of the rail dispute “further away.”
Union bosses claimed today the Rail Delivery Group – which is negotiating on behalf of train operators – was instructed by the government to take on the strikes.
“It is now absolutely clear that the RDG’s attempts to resolve the dispute by making a revised and improved offer have been blocked by the government,” a RMT spokesperson said.
The union rejected on Sunday an eight per cent pay increase as it didn’t meet any of its criteria for “securing a settlement on long term job security, a decent pay rise and protecting working conditions.”
The RDG urged union leaders to put the proposal to its members “rather than condemning them to weeks of lost pay either side of Christmas during a cost-of-living crisis.”
It also said it was working on giving passengers the “maximum possible certainty” to make plans for the festive period.
According to multiple reports, the RMT binned the proposal after it was made conditional upon the introduction of driver-only operated (DOO) trains at the behest of No 10.
DOO is when the train driver is in control of opening and closing the trains’ doors.
The practice has been at the centre of controversies as it would lead to having less or no train guards on board.
“[The government is] seeking to impose Driver Only Operation (DOO) that will make our railways less safe, secure and accessible and they seem prepared to sacrifice Christmas business to force it through,” added RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch.
Nevertheless, transport secretary Mark Harper told the Commons’ transport select committee today that it wasn’t the government’s role “to micromanage the details of the [rail] reform.”
The DfT was approached for comment.