London

Tube strike suspended after 'substantial progress' in talks

Commuters pack on to a Tube Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The strike was been called off after "substantial progress" in talks, the RMT union said

A planned 48-hour strike by London Underground workers has been suspended following talks.

Tube staff had intended to strike next week, from 21:00 BST on Tuesday until 20:59 on Thursday, as part of a long-running dispute over staff cuts.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said "significant progress" had been made in three key areas of talks with Transport for London (TfL).

The dispute is over TfL plans to save £50m a year by closing ticket offices.

It says it needs to save £4.2bn by 2020.

Originally, 953 jobs were to go but that figure has now been reduced to 897 and TfL said it anticipated that the number would fall further as a result of continued discussions.

Image copyright PA
Image caption TfL wants to close all ticket offices across the Tube network

Following a meeting at the conciliation service Acas, the two parties also agreed to continue consultations on the changes.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "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, said: "Nothing positive would be achieved through this strike action and this threat had no logic to it whatsoever apart from attempting to disrupt hard working Londoners and their [RMT] members losing two days pay.

"By simply continuing to talk without imposing unnecessary threats is obviously the best solution, which is recognised by the other trades unions."

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