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Talks to resolve rail dispute to continue after meeting with unions

Talks aimed at resolving the long running rail dispute are to continue following meetings between unions and employers on Thursday.

Leaders of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) held separate sessions with the Rail Delivery Group.

Both sides said detailed discussions were held and they were working towards a revised offer.

Strikes have been held since last summer in the row over pay, jobs and conditions, causing huge disruption to services.

No more strikes have been called.

Luke Chester, organising director, at the TSSA said they were working towards “something that will resolve the dispute”.

Industrial strike
Luke Chester (left), Organising Director, Strategic Organising & Campaigns Team for the TSSA Union (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr Chester said they had “interesting and detailed discussions today”. “We’re working towards hopefully something which will resolve the dispute,” he said.

“We’re not there yet but we’ll be having more discussions over the next few days and see where we get to.”

Asked about what they made of proposals on the table, he said: “I’m not going to talk about the details of what was discussed but there were some changes to the proposals that had been made recently and we’re working through that detail.”

Asked about the atmosphere in the meeting, he said: “Well we weren’t climbing over tables punching each other, that’s not the way it works at all. Discussions are always cordial, sometimes heated but they’re always cordial. We’re professionals in that way.”

Asked how hopeful they are that they will make a deal, he said: “We’ll have to see how the talks progress. I can’t predict the future.”

Industrial strike
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) (Aaron Chown/PA)

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said rail employers had made no new offer but they were working together towards a revised offer.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Lynch said: “We have been in detailed discussions with the Rail Delivery Group for the train operating companies.

“We are working jointly towards a revised offer for their section of the dispute.

“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.

“And that’s all we can say at this time I’m afraid.”

Asked if proposals were different from the previous offer on the table, he said: “We haven’t got an offer so we’ll leave it for another day.”

The RMT union released a statement which 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.”

The Rail Delivery Group issued a similar statement.