Tube strike shelved for fresh talks

Planned strikes by London Underground workers this weekend in a row over the sacking of two drivers have been suspended and fresh talks will be held to try to resolve the disputes, it was announced today.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union working on the Bakerloo and Northern lines were threatening to walk out for 24 hours from Sunday evening after earlier stoppages.

London Underground said today it had questioned the legality of the union's ballot methods and urged talks instead of "unnecessary disruption" to passengers.

LU said it had dismissed one Tube driver for a "serious safety breach" and the other for "abusive behaviour" towards colleagues.

Howard Collins, LU's chief operating officer, said: "At the root of the RMT leadership's strike threat was the dismissal of two Tube drivers, one for abusive and totally unacceptable behaviour, and the other for a serious safety breach.

"We've worked hard to avoid what would have been completely unnecessary disruption to Londoners, who will welcome the news that the RMT leadership have called off these threatened strikes."

The RMT said strike action had been suspended to allow fresh talks at the conciliation service Acas, and in light of a move to use "anti-union laws".

General secretary Bob Crow said: "Our members have both won interim hearings at the employment tribunal that show they were victimised on the grounds of trade union activities.

"As a result LU has had to put them both back on wages and the time has come to get them back to work doing the job they are being paid to do and that's driving Tube trains."