Network Rail
Planned strikes by engineers on Southern Railway have been suspendedGetty Images

A planned rail strike by Southern Railway workers has been called off following last-minute talks with union members and the rail operators.

The proposed five-day strike was due to begin on Sunday 12 July, with members of the Rail and Maritime Transport (RMT) union saying they will also not work any overtime of over the weekend of 10-12 July.

But the RMT has now confirmed strike action is off. A spokesperson for the union said an agreement has been reached on the issue of a reduction in the working week.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash, said: "This morning, the union's negotiating team attended talks with Southern in an effort to resolve the current dispute. At these talks, the following resolution was agreed between your union and management:

"During the forthcoming pay talks, Southern (with the agreement of GTR) will make an offer which will include a reduction in the working week, in a phased way, to a 37-hour week by May 2017 as part of a multi-year deal to be negotiated with GTR.

"Southern recognises that the hard work and commitment of our engineering staff has contributed towards the efficient operation of the company over the life of the franchise and any pay offer will be fully cognisant of this fact."

A similar strike by RMT members working at Northern Rail was recently called off after the company threatened to sue the union.

Northern Rail said the ballot to strike was unlawful as it did not receive the government's required support of 40% of its members.