The TSSA and RMT unions have suspended their planned strike on London Underground after reaching a deal over ticket office closures.
The unions were due to strike from 21.00 on Tuesday over plans to close all Tube ticket offices and redeploy staff to ticket halls and platforms where London Underground says they’ll be able to better serve passengers.
LU says the numbers of passengers using ticket offices continues to fall due to the popularity of Oyster card and predicts that the introduction of payment by contactless debit and credit cards later this year will further lessen custom.
It claims staff currently working in ticket offices could offer more help to passengers by being redeployed to ticket halls and platforms where mobile devices will continue to allow them to serve customers and sell tickets.
The changes would see 950 posts axed, although around 200 new jobs will be created when a new night Tube service starts in 2015.
Unions say the cuts will make the network less safe and make it harder for disabled other passengers needing assistance to travel.
Both sides in the dispute have been holding talks at conciliation service Acas.
The TSSA confirmed on Twitter that the strike had been suspended.
In a statement the TSSA said: ‘Following extensive talks with Underground management at ACAS we have agreed to suspend the industrial action called to start at 2100hrs on the 11 February for 48 hours.
“We are in receipt of a letter from the Underground for which some of the details are confidential but we can say this the agreement gives us nearly 2 months to look at the proposals in great detail with a number of assurances on how these will progress.
“It includes a station by station review including ticket office closures, which could result in some ticket offices remaining open. The company have also agreed not to implement any further proposals on the subject of the Stations restructuring plans whilst these talks take place.”
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “We now have a golden opportunity to look again in detail at all of the concerns we have raised about the impact of the cuts on our members and the services that they provide to Londoners. That is exactly what we have been calling for throughout this dispute.
“RMT is happy to discuss any issues with LU through the machinery of negotiation and we are glad that we have now got back to where we should have been right at the start of this process.
“It is unfortunate that we were forced and provoked into a dispute that we never wanted and we are now in a position to move on with the clear understanding that our action is suspended but if there is any further attempt to impose change from above the action will go back on.”
LU Managing Director Mike Brown said: “We welcome the constructive talks at ACAS today and await confirmation from the RMT and TSSA that their strike action is suspended.
“We have always said that we want the unions to engage fully with us, to help shape our proposals for the future of the Tube.
“The hard work of both the LU and union negotiating teams and the progress we have made at ACAS over the last few days means we can now do that without further unnecessary disruption to Londoners.”