Tube strike called off by unions

Tube strike called off by unions

A planned 48-hour strike by London Underground workers in a row over ticket office closures has been called off after a last-minute deal was agreed.

Members of the RMT and TSSA unions were due to walk out at 9pm tonight following a two day stoppage last week which caused travel chaos in the capital.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said unions had received proposals that halted implementation of job cuts, so that discussions can be held “away from the pressure cooker”.

The unions are campaigning against controversial plans to close all 260 Tube ticket offices with the loss of 950 jobs.

Mr Crow said: “After two days of intensive and detailed discussions through the offices of Acas we have now received proposals that halt the implementation of the job cuts which gives us the opportunity to discuss all of the issues away from the pressure cooker.

“We now have a golden opportunity to look again in detail at all of the concerns we have raised about the impact of the cuts on our members and the services that they provide to Londoners. That is exactly what we have been calling for throughout this dispute.

“RMT is happy to discuss any issues with LU through the machinery of negotiation and we are glad that we have now got back to where we should have been right at the start of this process.

“It is unfortunate that we were forced and provoked into a dispute that we never wanted and we are now in a position to move on with the clear understanding that our action is suspended but if there is any further attempt to impose change from above the action will go back on.”

A TSSA spokesman said: “We have now agreed a process where all our serious concerns over safety and job losses will be seriously addressed through the normal channels.

“We are obviously pleased that we have agreed this process.”

John Woods, deputy chief conciliator at Acas, said: “We welcome the news that the proposed industrial action has been withdrawn. We want to thank all the parties involved for their hard work and commitment over 10 days of intensive talks with Acas.”

The Federation of Small Businesses estimated that last week’s action cost small firms in the capital £600m (€722.2m) in lost working hours, business and productivity.

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