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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Tube strike called off
Tube train at a station
The strikes were expected to cripple the network
A planned 24-hour London Underground (LU) drivers' strike has been called off after talks between bosses and tube drivers' unions.

The strike was due to start at 0000 BST on Friday.

It is not clear whether a second planned 24-hour stoppage for next week has also been halted.

It was feared the two stoppages would have brought the 270-station network to a near standstill.

I join with millions of Tube users in breathing a sigh of relief. Londoners must not be held to ransom in this way again

Bob Kiley, Commissioner for Transport for London
An agreement between Underground management and unions was reached on Thursday.

The talks came after a long-running dispute between LU and the RMT and Aslef unions.

Drivers of passenger tube trains have been demanding a 1,600 pay-rise, to bring them into line with their colleagues who drive engineering trains on the network.

Mick Rix, leader of Aslef said: "This is an acceptable and honourable agreement and a victory for common sense."

The breakthrough came after five hours of talks between Aslef, the RMT and LU management at Aslef's north London headquarters.

The drivers of the two unions were the only Tube staff still in dispute with LU.

Earlier this week, hopes of a settlement rose when it was announced that talks would be held on Aslef's "home ground".

There was further optimism when RMT assistant general secretary Bob Crow said before the meeting: "There is no reason why there shouldn't be a deal in the making."

Unfortunate timing

Bob Kiley, Commissioner for Transport for London, said he was delighted the strikes had been called off.

"This is what I was calling for on Wednesday," he said.

"I join with millions of Tube users in breathing a sigh of relief. Londoners must not be held to ransom in this way again."

London businessses had expressed concern about the planned action, following the terrorist attacks in America.

The Confederation of British Industry warned of the "unfortunate timing" of the strikes and the damage they would do to the capital.

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The Kiley Factor

See also:

10 Oct 01 | England
'Last ditch' talks on Tube strike
24 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Tube plans branded 'flawed'
09 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Tube fails performance tests
06 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Tube legal fight called off
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