THE RMT has called out a former Cabinet minister for a “disingenuous” tweet about the pay offer put to rail workers.

The union is taking industrial action on January 3,4, 6 and 7 in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions. 

Former secretary of state for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Ranil Jayawardena said on Twitter that he was backing “strivers over strikers”.    

He said: “They [rail workers] have been offered a 9% pay rise and, whilst the TSSA (a union) have accepted it, the RMT (another union) have continued to reject it. 

“It’s important that a good, reliable service is offered to those who need to travel – and the RMT’s approach is unacceptable.”

However, the RMT’s twitter account took issue with Jayawardena’s comments, describing it as “disingenuous”.

The union’s tweet read: “That offer was not to all rail workers. The Network Rail offer included a 5% and 4% pay rise over a two-year period with thousands of job losses, a 50% cut in scheduled maintenance tasks and a 30% increase in unsocial hours. 

“Your tweet, at best, is extremely disingenuous.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has said that negotiations on strike action will take place next week.

However, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch told the PA news agency that industrial action will continue beyond May unless a reasonable offer is made. He added that workers had not had a pay rise in three years. 

The union boss added that thousands of workers would have lost their jobs and the railway would have become more dangerous if the offer had been accepted. 

READ MORE: Mick Lynch says Scottish nationalist MPs are 'closer' to RMT strikers than Keir Starmer

Although the dispute does not involve ScotRail staff, passengers across Scotland have been warned to expect “major disruption”

Network Rail staff occupy many safety-critical roles meaning services across the country will still face disruption. 

Asked about talks between the unions and employers, Harper told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “First of all, the deal is not going to be done in TV studios, it is going to be done around a negotiating table between the trade unions, the train operating companies that run the trains, and Network Rail that run the track and the signalling. 

“We have to get people back around the table. We had some good meetings before Christmas, we have got some more meetings scheduled next week.”

Lynch said that it was down to the UK Government to lay out its exact proposals on how it would move forward with strike negotiations.