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The BBC's Tom Symonds
"The RMT have not called off strikes all together, they have simply deferred them"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 May, 2001, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Tube strike called off
London Underground
Last month's strike caused major disruption
A planned strike on the London Underground has been called off just hours before it was due to start.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union had come under pressure from the Prime Minister Tony Blair, TUC leader John Monks and business leaders not to press ahead with the walkout from 2000 BST on Wednesday.

However, a 24-hour strike on South West Trains will go ahead from midnight Wednesday.

This is good news for both Londoners and Tube workers

John Monks
And the RMT warned its Tube walk-out had not been cancelled, but "deferred" until 15 May.

On Tuesday evening, the union's executive had decided not to accept a peace deal worked out during 18-hours of talks at Acas, with the help of Mr Monks.

Its eleventh hour decision to cancel the Tube strike followed another executive meeting on Wednesday.

Assistant general secretary Bob Crow said LU had made a revised offer which RMT members had a right to be consulted on.

"We have therefore deferred our strike action to allow consultation to take place."

He added: "We continue to defend strike action as a legitimate means of ensuring that proper negotiations take place."

John Monks
Monks was involved in conciliation talks
Derek Smith, managing director of LU, welcomed the decision.

"Over coming days we aim to have more constructive discussions with the RMT with the aim of finding a lasting resolution to this dispute," he said.

The threatened Tube walk-out was in protest over the government's planned partial privatisation of the Underground.

The RMT feared safety would be affected by the government's controversial plans to run the service through a public private partnership (PPP).

Rail strike going ahead

Mr Monks has welcomed the cancellation of the strike as a "mature decision".

"This is good news for both Londoners and Tube workers."

The last strike on 29 March caused major disruption across the capital and cost an estimated 100m in lost work, production and commerce.

The 24-hour strike on South West Trains will disrupt travel for up to 300,000 people who use the services every day.

It had been hoped the action would be averted after a proposal deal was hammered out at talks earlier this week.

But this was rejected by the RMT's executive which said there had been a complete breakdown of industrial relations with the train firm.

SWT said it was sorry that passengers would end up being victims of the "unnecessary action".

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See also:

17 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Two-pronged attack on Tube plans
03 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Courts 'to decide' Tube future
28 Mar 01 | UK Politics
New attack launched in Tube battle
02 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Tube deal reached
08 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Livingstone backs tube safety strike
06 Dec 00 | UK Politics
GLA rejects Tube sell-off
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