Sussex & Surrey Trains Strike Reprieve

Southern Rail commuters look set to avoid travel chaos next week as talks resume.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), had planned to walk out from 5pm on Monday 25 May but put these plans on hold this afternoon after they received a new offer from Network Rail, meaning Southern Rail commuters won't have to deal with a drastically altered service.

The threat caused a number of train operators to cancel services and some others to advise passengers not to travel on the rail network at all.

Officials from both unions have spent the last four days in talks with Network Rail at the conciliation service Acas.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, said: "Our negotiating team at Acas has received a revised offer from Network Rail.

"As a result of this, they have suspended the planned industrial action, pending the outcome of a meeting of our workplace representatives next week."

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Network Rail welcomed the decision.

The unions previously rejected Network Rail’s pay proposals put on the table in April, which it claimed were "well short" in terms of maintaining the living standards, job security and working conditions of close-on 16,000 staff .

Union members have so far rejected a four-year deal worth £500 this year followed by three years of increases matching RPI inflation.

Network Rail’s offer also pledged no compulsory redundancies before December 2016.

Meanwhile, tube drivers on London Underground are to be balloted for strikes in a row over pay for new all-night services, the Aslef union has announced. Around 80% of all London Underground drivers are members of Aslef.

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