UK train companies make 'final' pay offer to striking RMT union

LONDON (Reuters) - British train operating companies said on Thursday they had made a "best and final" pay offer to the RMT rail union, in an effort to end a long-running dispute that has led to months of disruptive railway strikes.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents the companies, said the proposal set out a minimum pay increase of 9% over two years, comprised of a 5% increase for 2022 and 4% for 2023.

Staff paid below a certain threshold will receive a guaranteed 1750 pounds ($2,160) in the first year, it added.

"This is a fair offer that gives RMT members a significant uplift over the next two years - weighted particularly for those on lower incomes who we know are most feeling the squeeze – while allowing the railway to innovate and adapt to new travel patterns," RDG chair Steve Montgomery said in a statement.

Montgomery urged the RMT to put the offer to its members for a vote. The two sides said last week they were working jointly towards a revised offer.

"The (RMT's) National Executive Committee will be considering this matter and has made no decision on the proposals nor any of the elements within them," RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said.

The RDG also said its offer included some changes to working arrangements but a guarantee of no compulsory staff redundancies until at least the end of 2024, an improvement to its previous offer of April 1, 2024.

Rail strikes by tens of thousands of workers since last summer have heaped pressure on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to do more to resolve the pay dispute and limit disruption.

Hundreds of thousands of workers across sectors from ambulance staff and nurses to teachers and postal workers have been striking across Britain over pay demands, against a backdrop of double-digit inflation.

($1 = 0.8103 pounds)

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)