UK's RMT suspends rail strikes after proposal by train companies

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain's RMT has suspended nationwide rail strikes planned for March 30 and April 1 after a proposal by train companies which the trade union said could lead to a resolution in the long-running row over pay and conditions.

Tens of thousands of rail workers have staged several waves of industrial action since last summer, causing widespread disruption for passengers and businesses.

The RMT said that following talks on Wednesday with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents more than a dozen train operators, a proposal had been put forward which could lead to a new offer to end the dispute.

"RMT will have further talks with the RDG with a view to securing a new offer on pay, job security and working conditions," the union said.

A spokesperson for RDG said the two sides were now "jointly focused on working constructively towards a settlement to this dispute."

Earlier this week thousands of RMT members working for rail infrastructure group Network Rail voted to accept an improved pay offer in a separate months-long dispute.

A spokesperson for Britain's Department of Transport said the RMT's decision on Wednesday to suspend the strikes was "a positive step and takes us closer to resolving this dispute" and urged the union to put the offer to its members for approval.

Britain has seen waves disruptive of labour strikes in recent months as hundreds of thousands of transport, health, education and public-sector workers demand better wages to keep pace with surging inflation and cost of living.

(Reporting Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)