Strikes by drivers on London Underground (LU), due to take place this week, have been suspended to allow more talks on resolving the dispute.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were due to stage a series of 24-hour walkouts, with the first set to begin at midday on Tuesday, in a row over planned changes to the pay grade of Night Tube drivers.
Ahead of last-ditch talks to avert the action involving the conciliation service ACAS, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We believe that there is a deal to be done which recognises the work-life balance and job security of our members, and we are entering the reconvened talks this morning in a positive frame of mind, and we take it that LU management also will be up for a constructive solution to this dispute.”
He later announced: “Following extensive and wide ranging discussions through the ACAS machinery we have hammered out enough ground to allow those talks to continue. As a result, this week’s strike action is suspended although the rest of the planned action remains on.
“I want to thank our members and our reps whose unity and determination has allowed us to reach this stage today and we look forward to pursuing the important issues at the heart of this dispute in the next phase of talks.”
Transport for London had warned of disruption across the Tube network if the strikes had gone ahead.
The suspension of the action due to start on Tuesday and Thursday means the parties have until 24 August – the next planned strike date – to thrash out an agreement.
Richard Jones, head of network operations for London Underground, said: “We welcome the decision by the RMT to suspend their action to allow further discussions to take place.
“We are confident that the changes we have made to rosters are positive for London Underground train drivers and the services we offer as London recovers from the pandemic. We look forward to discussions continuing.”