Socialist Worker

Tube bosses back down over sacked workers

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2251

Reports were emerging as Socialist Worker went to press of a deal that would see next week’s planned strike by tube drivers called off.

Drivers in the RMT union voted by 64 percent to strike over the sacking of union reps Eamonn Lynch and Arwyn Thomas on London Underground.

The union had called 48 hours of strikes next week, which would have disrupted London Underground every day. It had called similar action for a week in mid-June.

Unfair

Eamonn last week won his Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal on the grounds of his trade union activities.

As Arwyn’s Employment Tribunal approached, bosses were in a weak position and retreated.

After a meeting with the RMT on Tuesday, they reinstated Eamonn—though reports suggest he will not be driving trains. They also agreed to further talks about Arwyn’s case.

The union had not officially suspended the action as we went to press.

Management was obviously very concerned about the impact of any action.

Mike Brown, London Underground’s managing director, said, “Responding to the results of the Employment Tribunal, not to the threat of strike action, London Underground has agreed to re-engage Mr Lynch in our employment in an alternative position and to

discuss Mr Thomas’s case further ahead of the planned tribunal.

“We are pleased to have secured agreement from the RMT leadership to jointly engage in an independent review of industrial disputes in London Underground.”

This is a further embarrassment for London mayor Boris Johnson, the Evening Standard newspaper and Transport for London bosses.

Johnson tried to use the dispute to further strengthen anti-union laws.

He wants the government to pass a law saying 50 percent of everyone balloted for a strike, not just those who vote, have to vote yes for it to be legal.

Ironically, the turnout when he was elected in 2008 was 45.33 percent of all eligible voters.

Arwyn has won an “interim relief” judgement at a previous tribunal, which is only awarded in cases where there is clear evidence of employees being sacked for trade union activity.

Tube bosses want to weaken the union.

Workers need to be prepared to use their full power to defend their jobs, conditions and union rights.


Cleaners at the contractor Mitie on First Great Western trains are balloting for strikes over pay.

The RMT members have been offered just

1.25 percent for last year and no more than 1 percent this year.

Inflation is running at

5.5 percent. The ballot closes on Tuesday 24 May.


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Article information

News
Tue 10 May 2011, 18:13 BST
Issue No. 2251
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