Union leaders will meet with the rail minister to reach an agreement to end the strikes

Talks aimed at resolving the dispute with railway workers will take place on Monday, after a week of disruption caused by strikes.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and Aslef took industrial action which has paralyzed services, with only one in five trains running from Tuesday to Saturday.

Union leaders will meet Railways Minister Huw Merriman as they continue to urge the government to block a deal that is expected to end a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and working conditions.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper denies the allegations, saying he is facilitating talks between unions and employers.

A passenger at London's Waterloo East railway station during a rail strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions

A passenger at London’s Waterloo East railway station during a rail strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions (PA)

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Today I want the government to stop pretending because the truth, written in black and white in their rail contracts, is that they are in complete control of this dispute from day one.

“Train operators cannot move without government approval.

“Passengers, workers and businesses are suffering and even railway company managers are starting to break ranks in despair at the government’s approach.

“The minister cannot hide behind this fairy tale that he is only a facilitator.

“His government can end this dispute today by removing the conditions it put in place to torpedo the resolution and allow companies to make a deal.”

A passenger at Waterloo railway station in London during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union

Railroad union officials and industry representatives to testify before transportation commission Wednesday (PA)

Meanwhile, Aslef leaders will consider an offer – made on Friday by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf of rail carriers – of a 4% wage increase for last year and 4% this year.

Conditions were attached to the offer, such as speeding up driver training, as well as agreeing on overtime work.

Representatives of railway unions and industry representatives will testify before the transport committee on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The transport secretary and rail minister have had kind, constructive meetings with a number of union leaders since taking office.

“They had open and honest conversations about the major challenges facing railroads.

“Passengers are rightly fed up with rail strikes and want the disruption to end.

“Trade unions should withdraw from strike action so that we can start 2023 with an end to this damaging dispute.

“Inflation-matching pay increases for all public sector workers would cost everyone more in the long run – adding to debt, fueling inflation and costing every household an extra £1,000.”

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