Three days of strike action which would have paralysed the rail system have been cancelled

Three days of industrial action which would have paralysed the rail network for Wigan train users have been cancelled at the 11th hour.
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Union chiefs annouced that strikes on November 5, 7 and 9 had been called off because of renewed talks with Network Rail and train operating companies.

Many people may have made other plans by now, at least for the Saturday disruptions, but both sides have welcomed the back-down as hopes of an agreement rise.

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The rail union RMT said it had “secured unconditional talks” on Network Rail and “the promise of an offer from the train operating companies who up until this point, have made no offer of any kind to our members.”

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Originally Network Rail had declared discussions and consultations closed and was intent on imposing changes to maintenance without agreement with RMT.

A spokesman said: “They have now rowed back and will continue discussions on the basis that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.’

“This takes away the reason for the current phase of action and means talks can continue without pre-conditions unilaterally set down by the company.

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“The current dispute remains very much live, and the union is continuing its re-ballot of members to secure a fresh mandate for action with the result due on November 15.”

And RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The threat of strike action and our strongly supported industrial campaign has made the rail employers see sense.

“We have always wanted to secure a negotiated settlement and that is what we will continue to push for in this next phase of intensive talks.

“Our priority is our members, and we are working towards securing a deal on job security, a decent pay rise and good working conditions.

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“The re-ballot remains live and if we have to take strike action during the next 6 months to secure a deal, we will.”

Northern's chief operating officer, Tricia Williams, said: “We welcome the news that the RMT has withdrawn its planned strike action on Saturday 5th, Monday 7th and Wednesday 9th November.

“We can confirm that the much reduced service strike timetable will still run on Saturday and Monday as the reintroduction of a timetable is complex and can take several days to do.

“We continue to advise customers not travel on these days. We are working up a plan to run a fuller service on Wednesday - customers should visit our strike page for most up to date information.”

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