London Underground strike called off

9th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Britain's main rail union on Thursday called off a 48-hour strike on the London Underground system planned for next week after "substantial progress" in talks with management.

Members of the 80,000-strong Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union had been due to walk out on October 14 over a long-running dispute over plans to close Tube ticket offices, which they said risked jobs and safety standards.

Their action threatened major disruption, particularly as it was due to take place at the same time as a separate strike by public sector workers.

"RMT has been able to secure significant movement in three key areas which have allowed our executive to suspend both the action scheduled for next week and the on-going overtime ban," said the union's general secretary Mick Cash.

Managers had agreed to further consultation on the planned closures, a cut in the number of posts threatened and guarantees to certain vulnerable staff, he said.

However, Cash added: "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."

The British capital's subway train system is the oldest in the world and carries around three million passengers daily.

London Underground argues that few tickets are bought at booths due to machines and touch-payment systems, and say staff should be stationed on platforms instead.

Chief Operating Officer Phil Hutton welcomed the decision to call off the "unnecessary" strike.

"We have adhered to every single one of the commitments we made to our staff," he said.

© 2014 AFP

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