A tube strike which threatened to cause misery for millions of commuters was called off at the last minute today.
London Underground and the two unions, the RMT and TSSA, reached agreement after talks at the conciliation service ACAS.
The 48-hour stoppage was due to begin at 9pm and was expected to lead to a repeat of the disruption during last week's action.
The dispute is over the proposed closure of ticket offices and the loss of 950 jobs. London Underground made a new offer to the unions today to extend the consultation period and freeze voluntary redundancy applications.
RMT boss Bob Crow said:
After two days of intensive and detailed discussions through the offices of ACAS we have now received proposals that halt the implementation of the job cuts set out in the HR1 document which gives us the opportunity to discuss all of the issues away from the pressure cooker.
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.
RMT is happy to discuss any issues with LU through the machinery of negotiation and we are glad that we have now got back to where we should have been right at the start of this process.
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.
Reacting to the suspension of strikes, Boris Johnson said:
– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
I'm pleased the TSSA and the RMT have agreed to call-off their planned strike following talks with Transport for London. It means further unnecessary disruption to London and Londoners has been averted.
TfL's negotiators have been ready since November to discuss the detail around ticket office closures and wider modernisation of the tube. It's welcome news that the unions appear to recognise that, and will return to full and substantive discussions with TfL between now and the end of the consultation period in early April.
Modernisation is essential if we are to properly serve the millions of Londoners who rely on the tube every day, and who expect a bigger, better service that offers value for money whilst protecting future investment. It is essential that our hard-working and dedicated staff, who are vital to the delivery of that vision, understand the changes we are proposing.
Sitting down to discuss those proposals, free from the prospect of strike action, was always the only sensible way forward. I'm grateful to TfLs negotiating team and pleased the unions agree this is the right way forward.