East Anglia rail strike action called off

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Strike action on the busy National Express East Anglia (NXEA) rail line was called off by the RMT tonight.

The union agreed to suspend industrial action from midnight tonight, claiming a major victory in the fight for improved pay and conditions.

General secretary Bob Crow said: "No one should be in any doubt that this improved offer has been won through the commitment and determination of our members on National Express East Anglia to secure a fair deal.

"It's their sacrifice over the past three weeks that has forced the company's hand and they can be proud of what they have achieved.

"We will now be consulting again with the company representatives and if our members want a final say on the revised deal then we will give them that in a referendum ballot.

"RMT members have shown again that working people do not have to be the victims of an economic crisis that was cooked up by the politicians and the bankers.

"RMT members on NXEA have shown that if we stand strong and united we can win."

The 48-hour strike on the busy commuter line had been due to continue to midnight tomorrow.

The RMT said the revised pay deal amounts to 3.5 per cent over two years with the potential for a further 0.5 per cent on top.

The RMT was joined in today's strike action by train drivers' union Aslef and a third rail union, TSSA.

The action resulted in fewer than 5 per cent of services being able to run on NXEA.

Some trains between Liverpool Street station in London and Stansted were able to operate, as were Liverpool Street services to Colchester and Norwich, to Southend and to Cambridge. But no other NXEA services operated.

Both Aslef and TSSA have also announced the suspension of strike action.

After face-to-face talks with NXEA managing director Andrew Chivers this morning, Aslef general secretary Keith Norman said: "We have hammered out an amicable timetable for the resolution of the industrial relations difficulties which have divided us.

"I also feel that we have secured reasonable pay increases given the general economic climate and the financial position of NXEA."

TSSA members were told to report to work as normal tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the RMT announced tonight that it had suspended a month-long programme of industrial action which has affected services on the Arriva CrossCountry rail route after the union received an improved pay-and-conditions offer.

The action started on 3 August and involved a ban on overtime and Sunday working.

The RMT will now put the new offer to its members.

Mr Crow said the action by members had "secured a major breakthrough" and "a real victory" had been achieved.