RMT has suspended a drivers' strike planned for today on the Victoria and Central Lines.
The company has budged in talks at Acas, offering some concessions. On the Victoria Line, where issues related to overbearing managers pushing drivers around, the company has committed to a series of workshops to try to improve relations. As the dispute is still live, the union can go back to Acas, and potentially reinstate action, if things don't improve on the ground.
On the Central Line the concessions are slightly more concrete, with the company committing to maintain staffing levels at 20 above minimum numbers, which works out to 17 additional jobs. These should all be in place within a few months; with many of the problems on the line stemming from short-staffing, securing this concession is a real step forward, and one that would simply not have been gained without calling the strike.
Some caution is required, however. We've been here before, on the Piccadilly Line, when a strike last summer was suspended after bosses promised similar concessions, only to be reinstated in September when it became clear the company had little intention of implementing its agreement.
Clearly, the point of calling strikes isn't to have a strike, and lose money, for the sake of it, but to extract concessions from the management. If such concessions are extracted, there's a reasonable case for suspending planned action. But when we know from experience that LU has a somewhat casual attitude to actually abiding by its own agreements, we also need to consider whether it's necessary to remind bosses of our power to stop the job. In this instance, the union has decided to give the company the benefit of the doubt. If that proves to have been misjudged, new strike dates must be named, and followed through on.