Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why the RMT is striking now over Arwyn Thomas

I've just sent off a message of protest to London Mayor, Boris Johnson and Transport for London via Labourstart.

Trade union activist Arwyn had been dismissed for alleged swearing and name calling on the picket line.

I must admit that I had been surprised that they were taking strike action before the outcome of the full tribunal hearing.  I could fully understand them doing so if afterwards if TFL didn't reinstate him.  However, rather than relying on the London Tory press I had a look at the Labourstart link and this article explaining the reasoning by London RMT.

This reminds everyone that there has already been an employment tribunal decision on whether Arwyn has been victimised for this trade union activities.  This was found in his favour.  I have also read this tribunal's decision on the 221 pages of evidence presented to it before granting him what is called "interim relief".  I would recommend that before anyone condemns this strike that they read the nine page decision. 

Arwyn is a leading London RMT activist.  He was acting under the instructions of his full time officer at the time investigating safety concerns about untrained staff being used as strike breakers. At worse he is accused by management of using a single swear word and calling someone a "scab" for crossing a picket line. An independent witness described him as being "a bit disrespectful" but not aggressive. Arwyn has 29 years of "unblemished service" he had been "regretful and apologetic for his actions".

The tribunal Chair pretty much ripped to pieces the decision by London Underground to dismiss him. It is clear that the RMT smell a rat.  I agree.  There is no way he should have been dismissed on that evidence. They think if the final tribunal finds that Arwyn was partly to blame (which he freely admits) then LU will simply refuse to reemploy him on that basis.  Mayor Boris needs to stop being a bystander, get his finger out and bring his out of control LU managers to heal.

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