London Tube Strike Off As Unions Suspend Action
Commuters across London are breathing a collective sigh of relief after unions suspended a proposed strike that would have caused havoc across the capital for a second week running.
The proposed 48-hour strike on London Underground, which had been due to start on Tuesday night, has been halted as both the RMT and TSSA unions called off action after mediation with London Underground.
The unions are campaigning against controversial plans to close all 260 Tube ticket offices with the loss of 950 jobs - and RMT general secretary Bob Crow said negotiations could now continue "away from the pressure cooker".
"We have now received proposals that halt the implementation of the job cuts which gives us the opportunity to discuss all of the issues away from the pressure cooker," said Mr Crow.
"We now have a golden opportunity to look again in detail at all of the concerns we have raised about the impact of the cuts on our members and the services that they provide to Londoners. That is exactly what we have been calling for throughout this dispute.
"It is unfortunate that we were forced and provoked into a dispute that we never wanted and we are now in a position to move on with the clear understanding that our action is suspended but if there is any further attempt to impose change from above the action will go back on."
The strike was due to start at 9pm on Tuesday. A similar stoppage last week caused chaos across the capital, with bus and Overground services struggling to cope with the extra demand and many roads gridlocked.
Thousands of Londoners took to social media to express their delight at the news.
@geoffalove tweeted: "Actually saw people do fist-bumps and little dances on platform when tannoy on Underground announced that #tubestrike was cancelled."
Another commuter, @dotsmith91, wrote: "So happy the #tubestrike has been cancelled. So much aggravation was caused last time, well done Boris."
Others on Twitter were celebrating despite backing the unions. @paoloruffino wrote: "Yes! Strike cancelled, deal agreed. But the fight isn't over #nocuts #tubestrike."
Acas facilitated two-day talks between the unions and London Underground. Its deputy chief conciliator John Woods said: "We welcome the news that the proposed industrial action has been withdrawn.
"We want to thank all the parties involved for their hard work and commitment over ten days of intensive talks with Acas."
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, last week's Tube strike cost the UK economy around £600m in lost productivity.
This week's strike had threatened Wednesday's Barclays Premier League clash between Fulham and Liverpool amid concerns about steward shortages, but the match will now go ahead.
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