Train drivers may be offered an extra £2,000 a year as part of a new pay incentive to end the winter strikes chaos, while Britain is braced to endure one of its largest rail strikes ever tomorrow with just one in ten services running.
Most unions are expected to reject the new package, worth four per cent over two years to drivers on an average salary of £59,000.
However, rail firms hope that if one of the biggest unions – Aslef – can be convinced to accept the revised pay offer, it may put pressure on the RMT ‘s leader Mick Lynch, to agree on a compromise, The Sun reports.
The offer may be formally put to Aslef early next week.
In what has been dubbed ‘Tragic Thursday’, some 12,500 train drivers across 15 companies will abandon their shifts tomorrow, continuing the New Year’s disruption.
Some 40,000 RMT rail workers walked out of work yesterday for the first of two 48-hour strikes this week.
Just one in ten train services will run on ‘Tragic Thursday’, forcing commuters to endure the worst single day of strike action in a working week for decades.
Tomorrow’s strike is compounded by the walkout of 21,000 workers from Aslef, on top of the continuing strike action by the RMT on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week – with few drivers expected to cross picket lines.
Insiders say it is the biggest disruption for commuters since the days of British Rail, The Telegraph reports.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper insisted to union leaders that there is ‘not a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money’.
He said: ‘Taxpayers have paid a huge amount of investment into the rail industry over the last few years when it was hit with a huge impact from the pandemic when people weren’t travelling.
‘I think you have got to have an offer that is both fair to the people working in the industry but that is also fair to the taxpayer that is picking up the tab.’
The Centre for Economics and Business Research says strikes this week will cost the economy £330million, bringing the overall cost of industrial action to £1.3billion since last July.
Network Rail is said to have a skeleton team of contingency signal workers on strike days, allowing one in five services to operate during RMT’s previous strike days.