The first in a series of strikes by rail workers in the long running guards on trains dispute have been called off after “significant progress” in talks.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on Merseyrail were due to walk out on Saturday followed by more stoppages in the coming weeks.

A union statement said: “Following a positive meeting with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, MerseyTravel and the RMT, fresh proposals have been made which represent significant progress in regards to addressing RMT’s concerns.

“In order to allow for further detailed discussion, the RMT has agreed to suspend industrial action called for August 24, September 3 and 5 2019.”

Mr Rotheram said: “As a result of constructive talks between myself, Councillor Liam Robinson, RMT general secretary Mick Cash and local RMT reps, I am pleased that a potential way forward has been found.

“I welcome the union’s decision to call off the strike action planned for this Saturday, Tuesday September 3 and Thursday September 5.

“This is good news for passengers and underlines that significant progress is being made towards reaching a final resolution to this long-running dispute.”