Rail unions have warned transport secretary, Alistair Darling, to resolve the pensions dispute or face the prospect of a national rail strike this summer.
Pension contributions for rail workers are due to rise in July to reduce the deficits, which total between £500m-£600m.
The RMT, Aslef, TSSA and CSEU unions, backed by Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, have written to Darling to ask him to organise talks between the government, employers and unions.
The unions want to cap employee pension contributions at 10.56% of salary and to ensure defined pension schemes are kept open for new recruits, the Financial Times reported.
They also want to reduce the number of separate pension arrangements to three basic schemes
Otherwise, the unions said, the country could face the first national strike since the 1926 general stoppage.
Keith Norman, general secretary of Aslef, said: “We do not believe it is right to tinker with the future of our members.”