The mayor of London on Sunday announced that a planned strike that would have ground the city’s underground Tube system to a halt this week had been suspended.
“Londoners and visitors to our city will no longer face several days of disruption,” the mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced on social media late Sunday afternoon. “This shows what can be achieved by engaging with trade unions and transport staff rather then working against them.”
The planned walkouts were to be so widespread that the authorities had warned people to travel on the London Underground only if their journeys were “essential,” and the strike would have thrown weekday commutes in the city into chaos. The sprawling transportation network has more than 270 stations, covering about 250 miles, and sees up to four million journeys a day, according to the transit agency.
Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, or R.M.T., had planned the action over disputes concerning pay and working conditions. According to the BBC, the head of the R.M.T., Mick Lynch, cited “positive discussions” on Sunday as a reason for the union suspending the planned strike.
Mr. Lynch, according the BBC, said, “The negotiations on a pay deal for our London Underground members can now take place on an improved basis and mandate with significant further funding for a settlement being made available.” He added that it was a “significantly improved funding position” for the union.
There have been longstanding tensions between the transit agency and the thousands of workers who keep railways running across Britain, who expressed discontent over their pay after inflation rose significantly last year.
Before the discussions on Sunday, the agency had offered staff members a 5 percent pay increase, which some workers in a separate union accepted. But R.M.T. members rejected the offer, arguing that the raise was below the inflation rate, and that the proposal did not address other demands.
Labor action in Britain has soared in the last couple of years, as a flood of disputes across industries in 2022 propelled public concern about strikes to new levels last winter. As inflation rose to double digits, train drivers, nurses, postal workers and teachers planned walkouts.
Those walkouts, commentators said at the time, echoed a “winter of discontent” from 1978 to 1979, when strike action paralyzed the country.
Last winter’s strikes, which disrupted daily life across Britain for months, eased somewhat as agreements were brokered. The government agreed to a deal that would give one million health care workers a pay raise. Waste collectors, postal workers and bus drivers have also reached deals.
But some agreements are still unsettled.
For example, junior doctors in England walked out last week over wages and work conditions, prompting cancellations of appointments and surgeries.
Isabella Kwai contributed reporting.