London tube strikes next week have been cancelled, after unions struck a last minute deal with Transport for London (TfL) this morning.
Aslef, who represent train drivers, confirmed ahead of an official announcement that strikes from all unions would be called off.
The RMT, ASLEF and Unite Unions had planned coinciding walk-outs – scheduled between 23 July to 29 July – that would have brought the network to a complete shutdown on four seperate days and caused chaos throughout the week.
A key part of the dispute had been a feud over pensions, with TfL today committing that no changes would be made before the next general election.
Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the underground, said “this is a major step forward.”
“After a week of intense negotiations, we have made real progress in making sure our members’ working conditions and pensions are protected from the impact of the Tory government cuts to TfL funding.”
He added: ‘There will be no changes to pension benefits before the next general election. And any future changes to working conditions and agreements will only be made by negotiation.”
ASLEF members were set to walk-out next week on 26 and 28 July.
Meanwhile, the RMT would launch strike action beginning this Sunday and on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week. It is still planning a seperate nationwide walk-out tomorrow and on 29 July.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “There has been significant progress made,” but warned that this was “not the end of the dispute nor is it a victory for the union as yet. RMT’s strike mandate remains live until October and we are prepared to use it if necessary.”
The union kingpin recently hit out at government for failing to meet with RMT officials to resolve the feud.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “It is really welcome news for Londoners that the trade unions have suspended their planned strikes next week and that commuters won’t face disruption.”
“Despite the onerous funding deal conditions imposed by the Government we have managed to avoid industrial action.”
Glynn Barton, Chief Operating Officer at TfL, said: “This is good news for London and we will continue to work closely with our trade unions to discuss the issues and seek a resolution.”
It comes amid an ongoing national dispute between unions, train operators and the government over pay, jobs and pensions – which began in June last year.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) estimated earlier in the week that strike chaos had already cost the sector around £620 million.