ASLEF and the RMT have suspended their industrial action on Southern, including a series of strikes which had been called at the start of August, following an intervention by transport secretary Chris Grayling.
The news comes less than 24 hours since ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan had called on Mr Grayling to take part in talks in a fresh bid to end the long running dispute over the introduction of driver-controlled operation.
The Department for Transport said the transport secretary had previously offered to join the negotiations on condition that industrial action was suspended first.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash will now be arranging a meeting. The union has advised its members that industrial action called for 1, 2 and 4 August is suspended.
Railnews understands that the indefinite overtime and rest day working ban by ASLEF members on Southern has also been suspended.
Speaking last night, ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan had said: “It’s time for Chris Grayling to stand up and help solve this dispute, which has been haunting staff and passengers alike on Southern Rail for the best part of 18 months. It is clear that the company, GTR, does not have the latitude to move without the say-so of the Department for Transport. Their hands are tied and passengers – and staff – have had enough. That’s why we think it’s time for Chris Grayling to step in and sort it out. He has the power. I hope he has the will.”