Christmas Eve Tube strike called off

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A strike that would have seriously disrupted Christmas Eve Tube services in London was dramatically suspended today.

Rail union the RMT called off the action on London Underground's Hammersmith & City and Circle lines after the intervention of the conciliation service Acas.

The action, which still threatens New Year's Eve services on the two lines, is over the sacking of a Tube driver for playing squash while he was on sick leave.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "We will continue to seek a fair hearing for the RMT member who has lost his job through an unfair and discredited disciplinary decision."

He went on: "We have stated at every stage of this dispute that an attempt should be made through Acas to resolve it, but London Underground (LU) management has ignored that responsible approach.

"RMT is pleased that Acas has now offered its help in resolving the dispute, and we are approaching that process with goodwill.

"The union and our members are, of course, happy that it has been possible to avoid industrial action over the Christmas period. It was action which we were not undertaking lightly, conscious of the inconvenience which it would create for the travelling public."

Mr Crow added: "It is probably too much to hope that London Underground will respond to this gesture by engaging with us in the search for an even–handed, transparent and consistent means of resolving disciplinary cases.

"But I know that in the long term LU must start to deliver the often–promised 'new era of industrial relations' of which we have so far seen little evidence."