The dreaded London Underground strikes that promised to bring the capital to a standstill have been suspended following breakthrough talks. Train drivers and station staff from both the RMT and Aslef unions had planned a four-day industrial action starting on Monday, before entering negotiations with Transport for London and the conciliation service, Acas.
Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the RMT believes these talks have made “significant progress” and compromises have been made to ensure stability in terms and conditions for employees. This includes increased guarantees on earnings, no pension changes for three years as well as halting productivity proposals that could damage the terms and conditions of workers.
Though this resolution is welcome news, the RMT strongly emphasises that this is in no way an end to the dispute, as negotiations are still set to continue and their strike mandate will remain in place alongside it.
Londoners will be welcomed with the news that underground strikes, planned in protest of funding cuts encouraged by the government, have been suspended following viable negotiations between Aslef–the union representing tube drivers–and the London mayor.
Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on the Underground, stated that both sides had worked diligently to ensure that members’ pensions and working conditions remain shielded from the impacts of government-imposed funding restrictions. It has been agreed that no amendments should be made to pension benefits ahead of the next General Election, while working condition changes must only come about through negotiation.
The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan expressed his relief at the suspension of industrial action in a statement: “Despite the impositions placed upon us by the government, we managed to avert huge disruption for Londoners” he said, continuing “Conversation is always key, and this shows what can be achieved through sound collaboration with trade unions.”
However, national rail strikes called by RMT members for Saturday and 29th July remain in progress. This dispute covers 14 separate train operators operating within England and is likely to cause significant travel disruptions across Britain.