RMT suspends next week's raft of strikes across Southern rail, Merseyrail, and Arriva Rail North in wake of Manchester attack

 
Rebecca Smith
The RMT had planned walkouts across three train companies
The RMT had planned walkouts across three train companies (Source: Getty)

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has suspended strike action planned across Arriva Rail North, Southern rail and Merseyrail on Tuesday 30 May, in the wake of last night's terror attack in Manchester.

Read more: Police confirm 22 dead including children in Manchester Arena attack

The union's general secretary Mick Cash said: "In light of the horrific bombing in Manchester last night, and the heightened safety and security alerts on our transport services, RMT’s executive has taken the decision to suspend the 24 hours of strike action scheduled for Tuesday 30 May on Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Southern Rail."

Our thoughts and solidarity at this time are with the people of Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed 22 people died and 59 have been injured following a suicide bomb at Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert last night.

The union had originally planned 24-hour walkouts across the three train operators next Tuesday in the ongoing row over driver-only operation and the role of the guard.

It had previously been calling on Southern, Arriva Rail North (which trades as Northern), and Merseyrail, to get back around the negotiating table.

The issue has become a serious sticking point for the union, which has been in dispute with Southern rail for a year and has been engaged in talks to try and resolve the row, but it has since spread to other operators too.

A Southern spokesman said of the suspended strike action:

This is an appropriate response by the RMT to the tragedy in Manchester. We thank them for taking this step.

The RMT's suspension of walkouts comes after political parties also announced they were calling off campaigning for the General Election for the time being.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said this morning he had spoken with Prime Minister Theresa May and "we have agreed that all national campaigning in the General Election will be suspended until further notice".

The SNP had planned to launch its manifesto today, but has postponed it, while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron cancelled a planned visit to Gibraltar.

Read more: The RMT plans fresh strikes in ongoing row over driver only operation

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