Tube Strikes Called Off

RMT cancel action after tribunal rules driver sacked unfairly

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Three tube strikes planned for next week have been called off. The move comes after an employment tribunal found that London Underground (LU) should not have sacked driver Arwyn Thomas.

Management and the unions have come to an agreement which involves the reinstatement of Mr. Thomas although he LU say this is on a basis that recognises 'the seriousness of his offensive behaviour'.

Union members were due to walk out next Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The tribunal found that, although LU were right to discipline Mr. Thomas, other options than dismissal should have been explored. The tribunal did not support the RMT's claim that Mr. Thomas was sacked for his union activities and said that he was 50% responsible for his dismissal as the evidence he gave was not credible.

The tribunal has not recommended that Mr. Thomas be reinstated.

Mike Brown, LU's Managing Director, said: 'The employment tribunal has today ruled that Mr Thomas should have been disciplined for his actions and that his dismissal was in no way due to his activities as a union member. This is entirely contrary to the claims made by the RMT leadership in order to justify their strike action."

He added, 'we recognise that despite these factors, the tribunal has found that the sanction used in Mr Thomas' case was too high'

Arwyn Thomas, a Northern Line driver who has been an RMT member for 29 years, was 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, was claimed to have verbally abused Philip Worf, an employee of Tube Lines, at Morden. Another incident at Kennington station was said to have involved a verbal assault on the station supervisor. The RMT dismissed these claims as 'allegations by strike-breakers'.

He will not return to his previous work location, and will be re-employed in a non-operational role, which does not involve customer facing duties.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said, “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.


June 24, 2011