Solidarity Magazine » London Underground Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Boxing day tube strike Fri, 30 Dec 2011 12:39:07 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By Frank Horn, ASLEF London Underground District Line

This dispute is not so much about the money basically as about the longstanding agreement we’ve had with London Underground that depots would be booked off for Boxing Day. There are four depots on the District Line, so once every 4 years we would get the day off. It’s the same on other lines.
It’s not as if they need the trains. Two years ago we had four trains at Wimbledon at 5am with one passenger on board. We would like to see Boxing Day working done by volunteers where we can. We have drivers that don’t celebrate Christmas or Boxing Day – they take other holiday days off.

The pay claim is because we need an incentive to work. We know they won’t agree to three times the usual pay for working on Boxing Day – we’re just setting the bar at a certain level. But it’s not true, as the papers make out, that the average driver could be on is £52,000 – that’s in 4 years and is the highest rate paid only to driver-instructors.

LUL has said it’s disgraceful that ASLEF balloted for a strike while we were still in negotiations, but as they well know there have been changes in the law on balloting which mean if we waited we wouldn’t be able to get agreement to strike before Boxing Day. They’re twisting our words, just taking one side of the argument.

It’s not so much about money. All they’re interested in is mileage – getting trains out. They want to run a Saturday service on Boxing Day when it used to be a Sunday service. But the argument you get in the papers about people wanting to shop in the Boxing Day sales is nonsense. Boxing Day sales aren’t a big deal – all the shops have sales right up to Christmas. When Boxing Day was a big shopping day, in fact, LUL ran a Sunday service – so why can’t they do that now?

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Employment Tribunal finds Arwyn Thomas was unfairly dismissed Wed, 22 Jun 2011 16:00:45 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

June 22, 2011

Arwyn Thomas’s Employment Tribunal today found that the London Underground driver was unfairly dismissed and that “no reasonable employer would have dismissed him in these circumstances.”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:

Throughout this process LU have said that they would abide by the Tribunal ruling so all that we are now asking them to do is stick to their word and get Arwyn back to work. I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Managing Director to make the necessary arrangements.”

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Tube victimisation dispute – the facts Tue, 14 Jun 2011 11:10:56 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Publication Date: June 14 2011

With strike action in the tube victimisation dispute beginning this weekend, tube union RMT today set out a summary of the key facts regarding the specific case of Northern Line driver Arwyn Thomas:

1. Arwyn has been a member of the RMT for nearly 30 years and throughout this time has had an exemplary employment record with London Underground without even so much as a reference for attendance or lateness.

2. During his 30 years, Arwyn has been a staunch and loyal activist in the RMT supporting the union’s campaigns, holding a number of offices – right up to executive level within London Transport – and representing members at all levels.

3. The wholly unfounded allegations against Arwyn are that he was abusive towards a strike-breaker at the Morden depot and towards a station supervisor at Kennington. Not only are these allegations totally untrue but at Arwyns “Interim Relief” tribunal hearing the chair, on hearing evidence from both sides, took the almost unprecedented step of asking the LU managers to step outside for fifteen minutes to consider immediate reinstatement.

4. LU managers foolishly refused the Tribunal chair’s invitation and as a consequence Arwyn was awarded “Interim Relief”, putting him back on full wages pending the outcome of his full tribunal. This decision was hugely significant as the burden of proof to secure interim relief on the grounds of dismissal for union activities is set extremely high – as it was in the case of victimised and reinstated driver Eamonn Lynch.

5. At the full Employment Tribunal hearing, which has now concluded and for which we await the results, the CCTV evidence showed clearly that not only had Arwyn not been abusive but that he had been pursued across the station by the strike-breaker who was openly trying to provoke a confrontation. It also showed that at no time did he enter the supervisor’s office at Kennington, contrary to the management claims. The only independent witness stated that there was no aggression on Arwyn’s part.

6. As a consequence of all the evidence it is absolutely clear that the charges against Arwyn that led to his dismissal are entirely bogus and it is also clear that the real reason for his dismissal is because he has shown himself to be a loyal and effective union activist for the past thirty years.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

The facts in Arwyn Thomas’s case could not be clearer and with the rolling action due to start this weekend I would appeal again to London Underground to see sense, abide by the spirit of the agreement we reached with them weeks ago over these vitimisations and get Arwyn back to work doing what he is being paid to do – drive tube trains.

This trade union would not be worth its salt if we didn’t stand up and fight injustice and Arwyn Thomas’s case is probably the clearest cut case of victimisation on the grounds of union activities that you will ever see. The chair of the interim tribunal found exactly that when LU were invited to adjourn for fifteen minutes and re-employ – it is a tragedy for Londoner’s and for industrial relations on the tube that they blew that opportunity.

However, it’s not too late to make amends and rather than plunging London into a series of tube-wide actions starting Sunday night there is still time to put right this wrong and we remain available for talks aimed at achieving a just outcome in this case.”

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RMT names further strike dates in vicimisations dispute Thu, 09 Jun 2011 17:00:20 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Publication Date: June 9 2011

TUBE UNION RMT today announced strike dates involving all train driver members in the on-going dispute over the victimisation of union activist Arwyn Thomas over his trade union activities and the associated continuing harassment and victimisation of union reps throughout London Underground.

Despite strenuous efforts by RMT, LU have refused to reach an agreement that would reinstate Arwyn Thomas despite his successful appeal for “interim relief” for unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal on the grounds of his trade union activities.

As a result, train driver members are instructed not to book on for shifts:

· Between 21.01 hours on Sunday 19th June 2011 and 03.00 hours on Monday 20th June 2011.

RMT has also served notice of further action in light of a continuing failure to agree on reinstatement where drivers will be instructed not to book on for shifts:

· Between 21.01 hours on Monday 27th June 2011 and 11.59 Hours on Tuesday 28th June 2011

· Between 12.00 hours on Wednesday 29th June 2011 and 11.59 hours on Thursday 30th June 2011

· Between 12.00 hours on Friday 1st July 2011 and 21.00 hours on Friday 1st July 2011

Arwyn Thomas, a long-standing RMT activist and driver at Morden was sacked on trumped-up disciplinary charges following unproven allegations made against him by strike breakers. The charges were wholly rejected at his interim relief tribunal in a case that has clear parallels with that of sacked and reinstated driver Eamonn Lynch.

Arwyn has been an RMT/NUR member for over 29 years and has held various positions in the union. As a result of his victory at the interim relief hearing at the Employment Tribunal on the grounds of his victimisation as an RMT activist Arwyn has been waiting at home on full pay for the opportunity to get back to work and do the job that Londoners are paying him to do – driving trains. RMT calculates that the combined cost in legal fees and wasted time and effort keeping Arwyn off work when he should be back in the cab is at least a quarter of a million pounds.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

RMT has made every possible effort to get Arwyn Thomas back to work and it is the intransigence of LU management, who have dragged their heels and failed to reach agreement over the past month, that has left us with no choice to put this strike action on.

This is a clear cut case of victimisation and RMT calls on London Underground once again to stop the delaying tactics, and the continuing waste of hundreds of thousands of pounds that they have thrown at this case, and get Arwyn Thomas back to work.

The massive vote for action by tube drivers in this dispute shows that they are well aware of the consequences of allowing our activists and safety reps to be picked off while we hear daily reports of breakdowns and failures on the network as a direct result of the very cuts that our members have been fighting.”

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Tube strike action due to commence next week suspended after unfairly sacked train driver Eamonn Lynch is re-employed and RMT and LUL agree to further discussions on Arwyn Thomas Wed, 11 May 2011 13:25:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Publication Date: May 10 2011

TUBE UNION RMT confirmed today that tube drivers strike action – due to commence next week – has been suspended following an agreement with London Underground to re-employ unfairly sacked driver Eamonn Lynch, and agreement to hold further discussion aimed at resolving the unfair dismissal of sacked driver Arwyn Thomas in advance of his Employment Tribunal.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

This dispute has only ever been about securing justice for our members who have been unfairly dismissed. As a result of this agreement Eamonn Lynch can return to work with his continuity of employment and standard of living protected.

We now also have an agreement to enter into further discussions with relation to Arwyn Thomas aimed at resolving his unfair dismissal case in advance of his Employment Tribunal.

As a result we have agreed to suspend the action to allow those further discussions to take place over the next week.

I want to pay tribute to the loyalty and determination of our members on London Underground who have continued to stand shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues Eamonn and Arwyn. Their strength and courage has been a shining example to the entire trade union movement.”

RMT General Grades Committee decision:

Following consultation with our representatives, we accept the agreement tabled to us, which

  • secures the re-engagement of Eamonn Lynch without loss of salary;
  • establishes a review of industrial disputes;
  • arranges legal discussions in the Arwyn Thomas case in an attempt to resolve the dispute, which in our view can be resolved only by his reinstatement; and
  • agrees a further meeting between LU and RMT next week.

Accordingly, we suspend all Industrial Action due to commence next week.

We acknowledge that it has been the commitment of our members to solidarity with their sacked workmates that has led us to this position. Our members remain committed to taking action to achieve justice if necessary.

We therefore instruct the General Secretary to place this matter back in front of us on Monday 16 May with a report on progress with the legal talks on the Arwyn Thomas case. We expect these talks to result in Arwyn’s reinstatement, and should that not be the case, it is our intention to call further strike action similar to that previously planned, as requested by our train grades representatives.

We instruct the General Secretary to make clear our stance in full to London Underground Ltd and to the media.

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Drivers vote to stop victimisations on the tube Mon, 02 May 2011 15:35:11 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

What a result! Train drivers and Instructor operators on LU were asked “are you prepared to take strike action over the victimisation of Eamonn Lynch and Arwyn Thomas?” 64% of drivers responded with a resounding yes vote on a turnout of nearly 50%.

This is a major achievement for the union and shows that drivers across the whole of the combine and in every depot are determined to stop the victimisation of our fellow drivers. Never before has the union escalated an individual case across the whole of the tube network.


Support for RMT campaigns combine wide are normally based on pay issues, terms and conditions or safety. To gain the support of our driver members the length and breadth of the combine for these two individuals is a fantastic show of solidarity for our victimised work mates. This result sends a clear message to LU bosses that drivers have had enough of the abuse of procedures and the oppressive management regime in force.

This result also shows that our members understand that these unfair dismissals represent an attack upon us all and that they are not prepared to stand aside and allow the company to get away with it.

Eamonn’s Employment Tribunal finished over six weeks ago, but the Tribunal judge has still not issued his decision. We expect the judgement very soon, and the union will be holding a press conference on the day it is delivered. Arwyn’s Tribunal will take place during the week of 23 May. Both Eamonn and Arwyn have already won ‘interim relief’ at earlier hearings, so we are confident that their Employment Tribunals will uphold their complaints of having
been sacked unfairly due to their trade union activities. However, even if the Tribunals order London Underground to reinstate them, LU can refuse to do so. That is why the RMT cannot rely on the legal process, but has had to organise campaigning and industrial action.

RMT has again asked LU management for talks aimed at resolving this dispute by getting our sacked reps back to work, and we await a response from them. The union is preparing a leaflet for the public, and is working with our Parliamentary group of MPs and supportive Greater London Assembly members to pursue these cases through political channels.
But should management not respond to this lobbying, we will have to hold strike action.
Eamonn and Arwyn’s interim relief cases show that they have been sacked for their trade union activity and LU have been ordered to pay their wages, pensions and to maintain all LU privileges including staff passes. This is an absurd situation where two experienced drivers are being paid to stay at home when all they want to do is book on for work as nomal.

The RMT General Grades Committee is currently considering what action to take to resolve this situation and see Eamonn and Arwyn back on the front of trains where they belong. A meeting of drivers’ reps and activists on the day the ballot result was announced agreed that a one-day strike would be ineffective as management are prepared to ride one-day strikes through. The consensus at the meeting was that a protest strike is simply not good enough. This dispute will not be won until and unless both men are reinstated. We therefore need a strategy, carefully thought out and executed to maximum effect – a strategy to win.

Rest assured that our reps and officers are thrashing out a strategy. This will be conveyed to all members at the appropriate time. In the meantime, you can help by spreading the word about these sackings and about the excellent ballot result, and ensure that ALL our colleagues are ready and willing to take part in the battle ahead. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose.


Ballot result exceeds ‘Boris Test’


No doubt our enemies in the Mayor’s office and the media will tell the world how wrong it is that our union can win a mandate for strike action on a 46% turnout. Nice try, but here is the logical conclusion to that line of argument:


Boris Johnson should not have been allowed to become London Mayor (turnout for 2008 Mayoral election was 45%);
The Conservatives should not be in a position to form a government (only 36% of those who voted in the 2010 General Election voted for them);
Local councils would cease to exist (since 1996, the average turnout in council elections is 35.4%)

The fact is that the turnout in our ballot was above average with a majority of nearly 2 to 1 for strike action. That is a sound mandate which, as we have shown, not only exceeds the ‘Boris Test’, but has far greater democratic legitimacy than this government of the rich and privileged forcing its austerity agenda on the people of this country.


Management Clampdown Coming your way? – We say no way!


However much you try to keep your head down and get through your shift, the oppressive breath of management is there, scorching the back of your neck. Eamonn and Arwyn’s sackings are not random: they are part of a management strategy to remove RMT from the workplace and, with it, any resistance to what they want to do to you. This can be seen in the latest initiatives such as ‘valuing time’, chasing drivers for as little as 30-second delays, asking for memos for the most trivial of things including making PAs, and asking for almost hourly updates when you are sick. They are also breaking every procedure in the book.


This includes their invented and unagreed attendance target of 96% and their constant changing of the SPAD policy to satisfy their latest whim. With big brother looking at you from CCTVs, black boxes, secret shoppers and overzealous duty managers, you will soon need a barcode in your neck to book on! Matters that used to be dealt with locally are sent to CDIs, leading to more and more drivers being sacked, whilst they cut pool operators and make it harder to get spare days’ annual leave, and make you go for hospital appointments in your own time. The list goes on. It is time to show management that whatever union you are in you want to be treated with respect. Such respect will only come when they start respecting your union, so supporting the upcoming strikes for Eamonn and Arwyn is not only right from the point of view of fighting two unfair dismissals – in the long run you will also be helping the union make your life better at work and make sure you are not the next victim.



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RMT to ballot all tube drivers for action over victimisation of members for trade union activities Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:00:01 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Publication Date: March 31 2011

TUBE UNION RMT announced today that it has served notice on London Underground for a ballot of all train operator and instructor operator members for strike action in an escalation of on-going disputes over the victimisation of union activists including two driver members – Eamon Lynch and Arwyn Thomas – over their trade union activities.

The ballot will close on 27th April 2011.

Eamon Lynch, RMT Bakerloo Line drivers’ health and safety rep, has been sacked by LU and although he remains on full pay following the union’s victory on Eamon’s behalf at an “interim relief” Employment Tribunal hearing the company has shown total contempt for the Tribunal process and have upheld his sacking. Interim relief is only ever granted by the Employment Tribunal where there is the clearest possible evidence that an employee has been dismissed on the grounds of their trade union activities.

Arwyn Thomas, a long-standing RMT activist and driver at Morden has been sacked on trumped-up disciplinary charges following unproven allegations made against him by strike breakers. Arwyn has been an RMT/NUR member for over 29 years and has held various positions in the union. Arwyn has also won an interim relief hearing at the Employment Tribunal on the grounds of his victimisation as an RMT activist and has been put back on full pay as a result.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

With the Mayor and TfL announcing this week that they are increasing their cuts assault from £5 billion to £7.6 billion it is clear that part of their strategy is to attack and victimise union representatives and activists in an effort to try and bulldoze through their de-staffing plans across London Underground.

The attack on Eamon Lynch and Arwyn Thomas is the clearest cut case of victimisation on the grounds of trade union activities that you will ever see and it’s no wonder that the Employment Tribunal was swift to see through the management lies and grant both these members “Interim Relief” – an award which requires the strongest possible proof that their sackings were down to their union activities.

Eamon and Arwyn have been victimised for fighting cuts to jobs and services that would turn the tube into a death trap. We are balloting all of our drivers to send out the clearest signal that workers who stand up for tube safety will get the full support of RMT members.”

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RMT to Ballot LU Drivers for Strikes in Escalation of Battle against Victimisations Fri, 04 Mar 2011 11:18:07 +0000 Continue reading ]]> March 3rd 2011

From the RMT London Transport website

    RMT General Grades Committee decision today:

    We note that our Regional Council has voted unanimously that it wishes to escalate our battle for the reinstatement of our sacked driver reps Eamonn Lynch and Arwyn Thomas to a strike ballot of all London Underground driver members. Our driver reps and members see these sackings as part of a concerted disciplinary clampdown against drivers across London Underground and as an attempt by LUL to weaken RMT’s organisation among train grades.

    Accordingly, we instruct the General Secretary to ballot all our London Underground driver members as soon as practical for strike action to demand the reinstatement of Eamonn and Arwyn and to oppose the disciplinary clampdown and attack on our trade union, and to take all practical steps to maximise the ‘Yes’ vote in this ballot.

    We further instruct the General Secretary to:

    • review legal advice with a view to holding a single ballot of all drivers if legally possible
    • send a personal letter by post to all driver members explaining the issue and strongly urging them to vote ‘Yes’
    • liaise with the Regional Council and its Train Grades Committee to produce effective materials encouraging members to vote Yes in this ballot
    • promote this campaign by personally visiting drivers’ workplaces and arranging for the Regional Organiser to do so too
    • make clear that should London Underground not reinstate our sacked reps, this union will consider a further escalation of the action to include other grades
    • provide regular updates to members on this issue, including on the progress of Employment Tribunals convene a members’ meeting on the day that the ballot closes to discuss the result and seek members’ views on the action to be taken; to include in the personal letter referred to above an invitation to this meeting, specifying the date, time and venue
    • seek the support of other trade unions on London Underground for this campaign
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    Strike while the iron is hot! Sun, 09 Jan 2011 15:59:32 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The RMT has called a further days strike action for Saturday 15th of January in the campaign to reinstate Eamonn Lynch. The solid strike on December 18th shutdown the line and showed management that all drivers on the line know that sacking Eamonn Lynch is an injustice too far.

    Just in case management still haven’t worked it out, drivers shutdown the line because:

    • every driver knows that Eamonn made an error. This was not a wilful error it was only a mistake which was compounded by the wrong instructions from the Network Rail Signaller and the Bakerloo Control Room;
    • that that there was a comparator case on the Piccadilly line where the driver committed a worse offence than Eamonn and was given a 12 month caution;
    • that the Signaller and the Control Room staff who issued the wrong instructions were not disciplined;
    • that even an Employment Tribunal Judge ruled in Eamonn’s favour;
    • that Eamonn has been discriminated against on the grounds of his role as a health and safety rep;
    • that if management get away with this then no one is safe.

    These are the reasons that the strike on the 18th of December was rock solid. Management on the Bakerloo Line thought they could get away with this sacking without a whimper from the work force. Instead the roar from the drivers on the Line has reverberated throughout the combine. Support and respect for Bakerloo drivers solidarity shown on the 18th has flooded in from every quarter of the tube.

    In response, management have deployed petty and pathetic tactics to get back at us. From ‘return to work interviews’ to pulling drivers for taking a quick pnr at the Elephant, these vindictive actions have just made the drivers more angry.

    These are classic examples of management out of touch with the workforce; of a company who think they are above the law.

    This behaviour is because Bakerloo Management have been shown up with their bosses at Broadway. They thought they would run a service but the solidarity on the Line put paid to that notion. Now the bosses at Broadway are aware of the strength of feeling on the line.
    RMT?General Secretary, Bob Crow wrote to HR Director Gerry Duffy on December 10th requesting a Directors Appeal. Bob not only appealed on the grounds that Eamonn was unfairly and unlawfully sacked but because the rulings from the CDI and Appeal panels have said that drivers can no longer be reduced in grade as a possible sanction because there are no jobs on the stations. This is a new development on the line and is unacceptable to every driver on the combine. What are the chances in a 20 or 30 year career driving trains that you will not make a mistake? This development is fundamentally intolerable and is in affect a change to our existing terms and conditions.

    London Underground’s chief operating officer, Howard Collins has said that calling a strike for Saturday is “outrageous”. What is outrageous is the unlawful victimisation of health and safety rep Eamonn Lynch. That is why the union has called further strike action.

    Drivers on the Bakerloo Line will not allow discrimination in the workplace, we will not stand by while any colleague, regardless of union, is treated in the disgraceful way that Eamonn Lynch has been treated.

    Management have the opportunity to overturn this injustice and stop the strike going ahead on Saturday. All they have to do is call the Director’s Appeal and let common sense and the law prevail.

    Unity is strength.

    From London Calling – the website of the London Transport Regional Council of the RMT

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    London Underground lies exposed as new documents show that nearly a third of tube stations will be left unstaffed as cuts bite Fri, 07 Jan 2011 15:11:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Publication Date: January 6 2011

    TUBE UNION RMT today demanded an immediate halt to the London Underground cuts programme as new documents released the union show that 30.5% of stations have been scheduled to be unstaffed during operational hours – a direct contradiction of the speech given by Mayor Boris Johnson at the Tory Party conference in October last year where he said that staffing cuts would leave “no station unstaffed at any time.”

    RMT research into the latest LU operational plans shows that of 249 LU managed stations 76 (30.5%) are scheduled to be unstaffed in the future for “part of the traffic day” which means during passenger hours.

    RMT is aware that the ORR (Office of Rail Regulation) have written to London Underground saying that unstaffed stations must be isolated incidents, not an everyday occurrence and not a part of normal working practice – a position flatly contradicted by LU’s latest operational plans. RMT also believes that the planning for over 30% of stations to run unstaffed during passenger hours breaches LU’s Safety Certificate and Authorisation Document.

    As well as the Mayor, his Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy, his Transport Advisor Kulveer Ranger, LU Managing Director Mike Brown and LU Chief Operating Officer Howard Collins have all told the media that despite the tube cuts “all stations will be staffed at all time” – statements now exposed by the RMT as totally bogus.

    RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

    The time for the lies and misleading statements about the true impact of the tube cuts must now come to an end as the harsh reality is now laid out in black and white – nearly a third of London’s tube stations will be left unstaffed for part of the working day if these cuts plans aren’t brought to a halt. These aren’t the RMT’s figures – they come direct from LU’s own operational documents.

    As fares are jacked up through the roof this week travellers can see that they will be expected to pay through the nose for a vastly inferior and dangerous service as unstaffed tube stations are turned into a criminal’s paradise.

    It was the Mayor Boris Johnson who told the Tory conference that no station would be unstaffed at any time. Either he wasn’t aware of what his officials were up to or he was lying through his teeth. Either way he should call a halt to the lethal cocktail of jobs and maintenance cuts right now.”

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