New Tube Strike Dates Announced

RMT to take action over sacked driver

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Another set of tube strikes is on the horizon with the RMT saying its members are going to walk out on 19, 27 and 29 June and 1 July.

The union say they are striking because of the failure to agree to reinstate driver Arwyn Thomas. London Underground (LU) said the union should wait until the employment tribunal hearing Mr. Thomas's case has reached its conclusion.

Arwyn Thomas, a Northern Line driver who has been an RMT member for 29 years, is accused of acting an "offensive, abusive, intimidating, bullying, malicious or insulting" manner to two Tube workers.

Mr Thomas, an executive of the union's regional council, is claimed to have verbally abused Philip Worf, an employee of Tube Lines, at Morden. Another incident at Kennington station is said to have involved a verbal assault on the station supervisor.

The RMT have dismissed these claims as 'allegations by strike-breakers'.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow, “London Underground knew in January that their case against Arwyn Thomas, like that against Eamonn Lynch, had fallen flat on its face when the interim tribunal judged that Arwyn had been sacked for his trade-union activities. The interim tribunal judge even suggested that LUL go outside for 15 minutes, think about it and re-instate him, but instead they have squandered huge sums of public money on trying to defend the indefensible."

The RMT claim that LU's legal bill in fighting the case is over £250,000.

At the same time the RMT is also in negotiation with LU over a pay deal. They have already turned down a five year deal which would have given their members rise above inflation and a bonus payment for working during the Olympics.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, is looking at changes to the union laws which Mayor Boris Johnson hopes will make it more difficult for the RMT to call strikes.

Bob Crow has pledged to resist any changes saying, “Working people are under attack as never before, and if it takes co-ordinated strike action and civil disobedience to stop it then so be it. Britain already has repressive anti-union laws that are outside legal norms and we have to jump through hoops to take action as it is."

June 9, 2011