Socialist Worker

Shock as innocent worker dragged away in handcuffs

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2220

Cleaners at the Initial company in central London witnessed a horrific scene last week when police arrested a colleague for alleged immigration offences.

Staff told Socialist Worker that a human resources manager called the police to arrest Mudashiru Atooki, an RMT union member, during a meeting.

He was then handcuffed and taken to Stoke Newington police station in Hackney, east London.

Atooki was released the following day—there is no evidence that he was working illegally.

Managers at Initial, which is contracted to clean London Underground, were unavailable for comment when contacted.

Atooki has been suspended from work since July, and his pay had recently been stopped.

He was called to a meeting at the Initial office on Thursday of last week, which he attended with RMT reps.

Management said that they wanted to talk to Atooki about his immigration documents, but the RMT reps insisted that they must first speak about his suspension.

During the meeting the manager was called outside and the reps received a phone call saying that there were police in the building.

A cleaner told Socialist Worker that the police asked for the manager by name.

When Atooki left the office the manager pointed him out to the police, who then arrested him.

One cleaner remained so upset by the scene that she was unable to speak about it when Socialist Worker talked to her.

The RMT held an emergency protest outside Stoke Newington police station in the evening.

After searching his house, the authorities released Atooki on Friday.

Atooki, who is originally from Nigeria, has a wife and two children living in London. He has worked as a cleaner on London Underground for more than four years.

Despite being freed, Atooki has been told he must report to immigration officers on Thursday of this week.

The RMT has called a protest for this Saturday as it believes this is an attack on the union and the rights of migrant workers.

Defend migrant workers, defend the unions, 2pm, Saturday 25 September, Initial offices, 13-27 Brunswick Place, London N1 6DX (nearest tube Old Street)

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Article information

Tue 21 Sep 2010, 17:36 BST
Issue No. 2220
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