Next week's Tube strikes are off: RMT suspends action

 
Rebecca Smith
Last month's Tube strike caused chaos in the capital
Last month's Tube strike caused chaos in the capital (Source: Getty)

Planned Tube strikes for next week have been suspended, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced.

It had met with London Underground (LU) bosses this week at conciliation service Acas to try and avoid more strike action taking place from Sunday.

More than 3,000 of the union's members were poised to walk out from 6pm on Sunday until 10am on Monday and then again from 10am on Tuesday 7 February until 1am on Wednesday 8 February, with more dates to be announced in March.

The union said it had secured the reversal of "nearly 60 per cent" of proposed job cuts.

LU's annual recruitment was 325 station staff. The agreement has been settled for an additional 325 members of staff, of which 200 will be full-time.

Read more: Mayor blames strike troubles on "toxic hangover" left from Boris Johnson

"That is a tremendous victory and a reflection of the resilience and determination of our reps and the membership right across London Underground," said general secretary Mick Cash. "We will now continue to work on implementation of the new staffing arrangements at the local level and as always RMT remains eternally vigilant.”

Steve Griffiths, chief operating officer for LU, said:

We are pleased to have reached an agreement with both unions and we welcome the RMT’s decision to suspend the strike action planned for next week.

We agree that we need more staff in our stations and we will be recruiting at least 650 new station staff this year, of which 325 will be additional new roles.

The remainder will comprise supervisor and customer service assistant roles and are expected to be a mix of both full time and part time.

"We will continue working with the unions as well as implementing the independent recommendations made by the London TravelWatch review to help meet the needs of our customers and to ensure they feel safe, fully supported and able to access the right assistance at all times,” he added.

The strikes would have been the latest action in the long-running row over the closure of Tube ticket offices and job losses. A walkout last month over the issue shut down the majority of Zone 1 stations.

That strike also involved members from the TSSA, though the TSSA already said it wouldn't take part in the latest action.

Read more: Tube strikes: TSSA says it won't join the RMT union in next week's walkout

It said LU's newest proposals - involving the creation of additional posts - "pave the way for a resolution" and is scheduling a meeting of its Tube representatives to vote on the offer.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "delighted" the strikes had been suspended, showing "what we can achieve by talking and engaging with staff".

"This is an excellent deal that will ensure commuters get the service they need at Underground stations, and it will fix the mess created by the previous mayor," he added.

But Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince said that Khan "has shown the RMT and the TSSA that they can get their way by striking and threatening to strike", which would only encourage more industrial action.

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