Rail union halts industrial action: Train drivers' deal puts pressure on RMT

THE BIGGEST rail union last night suspended industrial action after train drivers' leaders agreed a peace formula to end a campaign of 24-hour strikes.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union will be under increased pressure to settle its own dispute in talks expected today, following the deal agreed by the 16,000-strong Aslef. Drivers' leaders accepted assurances from British Rail over new employment conditions for seven 'shadow franchises' to be created in the run- up to privatisation.

An executive meeting of the RMT said it would now 'test the faith' of management and agreed to negotiate with BR. In a letter to Paul Watkinson, BR's personnel director, Jimmy Knapp, the RMT general secretary, warned that further day-long stoppages would be called if management did not respond to the gesture.

The 67,000-strong RMT may abandon its policy of Friday strikes and switch to Wednesday or Thursday, which could impair public support but would lead to increased disruption. Unless there is a deal, more industrial action is likely next week.

The RMT executive took several hours to agree to suspend the strikes as left-wingers argued that the union should name the next day of action to concentrate the minds of management.

Mr Knapp told a press conference at the union's headquarters last night that the dispute could only be solved through negotiation. The union's representatives would be available for 'intensive discussions' with a view to reaching a deal. He said he was prepared to set aside the whole of this week to reach an agreement.

Mr Watkinson said the agreement with Aslef was welcome to passengers and freight customers. 'The settlement was achieved not by last Friday's strike - which was damaging and pointless - but by the two sides working out the best solution . . . in an atmosphere of mutual goodwill.'

Mr Watkinson said that both management and the train drivers' union had showed a willingness to be flexible that had not been a feature of RMT's position. Aslef accepted detailed assurances that BR would honour existing agreements and that drivers would remain BR employees until privatisation. Aslef accepts that BR has no jurisdiction thereafter.

In a letter to the RMT yesterday, Mr Watkinson said that management had shown considerable flexibility in trying to find 'words and phrases' to reassure the union.

RMT is unlikely to call a stoppage this week, but may call a strike in the middle of next week.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk