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Relief as rail strikes called off
Planned strikes by workers at two train operators, which would have caused travel chaos in the run up to Christmas, have been called off.
Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at ScotRail had been due to walk out on Saturday and again on Christmas Eve in a row over the dismissal of a colleague.
The union was also set to hold a 24-hour walkout at CrossCountry on Friday in a separate dispute over industrial relations.
The ScotRail action was called off after a "satisfactory agreement" was reached between the union and the company, although no details were given, while the CrossCountry strike was suspended after "significant progress" was made in talks.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said of the CrossCountry development: "Although the negotiations have been positive, further talks are required before we are in a position to reach a final settlement.
"Having considered this matter, RMT's executive has decided to suspend the industrial action to allow these talks to take place.
"Members have been instructed to work as normal. RMT would like to make it clear that the union is only suspending the current strike action. If no progress is made in the talks with CrossCountry, further industrial action may have to be called."
A ScotRail spokesman said services would run as normal over the Christmas period, adding: "We are delighted that common sense has prevailed and the threat of industrial action has been lifted. It is the right decision. Our customers can look forward to normal services over Christmas and to travel to be with family and friends."
Scotland's transport minister, Keith Brown, said the news came as a great relief.
"Nobody wants to see a strike on our railways, particularly at this time of year, and the travelling public have been left under a great cloud of uncertainty over the past few days about how they will be able to fulfil their plans over the festive period."