London Tube strike called off after RMT union makes "substantial progress"

 
Catherine Neilan
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Tube: Next week's strike has been called off (Source: Getty)
The 48-hour Tube strike that was due to take place next week has been called off after unions said they had made “substantial progress” in talks.
The strike had been scheduled to start at 9pm on Tuesday and run until 8:59pm Thursday evening, and had been called over the threat of around 900 job cuts and the closure of ticket offices.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' Union (RMT) had organised the strikes as part of its Every Job Matters campaign, while Transport for London (TfL) attempts to make £4.2bn-worth of savings by 2020.
TfL's proposed measures are expected to save around £50m.
RMT said today talks had “secured substantial movement” in three key areas – that a further consultation should take place; that London Underground had agreed to reduce the number of possible job cuts; and that a salary and location guarantee has been extended to all staff affected who have medical restrictions.
The union said this last point was “absolutely crucial”.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
Thanks to both the solidarity and determination of our members, and the hard work of our negotiators in the Acas talks, RMT has been able to secure significant movement in three key areas which have allowed our executive to suspend both the action scheduled for next week and the on-going overtime ban.
The substantial improvements we have agreed allow us to move forwards but the Union’s core opposition to the austerity-led cuts on London Underground has not shifted an inch and we remain vigilant to further developments and their impact.”
Phil Hufton, chief operating officer of London Underground, had a slightly different take on the process, saying the threatened action had "no logic to it whatsoever, apart from attempting to disrupt hard-working Londoners and their members losing two days' pay".
He said: “Although it was not made clear why the RMT called for strike action on Monday evening, we met with them at Acas yesterday and the good news is that, by providing some basic clarity, the threatened strike and the current overtime ban have now been withdrawn."
Hufton added: "We have held over eighty meetings in the past eleven months with the trade unions and we’ve already seen good progress through the process of consultation, including the number of post reductions falling from 953 to 897. We anticipate this will reduce even further through the process of continued discussions and local consultation."

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