London travel: Talks ongoing as planned Tube strikes cancelled

3 August 2021, 12:52 | Updated: 3 August 2021, 12:54

Tubes strikes planned for this week have been called off following progress in talks
Tubes strikes planned for this week have been called off following progress in talks. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Talks between Transport for London (TfL) and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are ongoing after planned strikes on the London Underground this week were called off.

Members of RMT were set to carry out 24-hour walkouts, starting on Tuesday, in a row over the grade of Night Tube driver.

The strikes have now been cancelled after progress in talks, although there are still walkouts planned for later this month.

A spokesperson for TfL said on Tuesday that discussions were continuing but declined to give regular updates on their progress.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch previously said: "Following extensive and wide-ranging discussions through the Acas machinery we have hammered out enough ground to allow those talks to continue."

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"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."

An Acas spokesperson said: "Following Acas talks, we're pleased that the planned strike action this week has been suspended for further discussions."

Staff were due to carry out strikes starting on Tuesday.

It comes as London Underground said it had made changes to driver rosters in an attempt to maintain a regular service.

It had been in "extensive consultation" about upcoming changes for months, reaching an agreement with other recognised unions, TfL said.

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However, when making the strike announcement, RMT said: "London Underground's proposals to rip up an agreement that protects 3,000 tube drivers' work life balance has caused uproar in the depots amongst drivers.

"This breach of trust by an out of touch management abolishes the part time jobs of workers – mainly women – who want them.

"This is the thanks that tube drivers have been given for keeping the service running through the Covid pandemic.

"This is a blatant attempt to now use that pandemic to start bulldozing through a savage programme of cuts."

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."

Further strike action is planned on August 24 and 26 between midday and midnight.