Sunday, 8 May 2011

Johnson to Force Another London Underground Tube Strike

Eamonn Lynch and Arwyn Thomas, two London Underground sacked Tube, have won ‘interim relief’ from an Employment Tribunal (decisions to award this resource are extremely rare and invariably indicate a win for the employee).

Because of this, the RMT has balloted its members, successfully, for industrial action. Of course, the management, or their boss Boris Johnson, could call for immediate reinstatement of the unlawfully dismissed drivers; thus putting a stop to this action.

Boris Johnson, as a Tory I realise that you have difficulties with laws and regulations (see Cabinet Office ‘Red Tape Challenge’); indeed, you find the concept of rules and regulations that afford working people a degree of health and safety and fairness in the workplace an alien one.

However, and herein lies the rank hypocrisy, you’re also a dyed-in-the-wool member of the ‘law-and-order’ Tory Party. Therefore, unless you want to paint yourself a bigger hypocrite than you undoubtedly are already, I suggest you adopt some of those Tory ‘law-and-order’ principles and reinstate the two-sacked London Underground tube drivers, Eamonn Lynch and Arwyn Thomas.

You can stop this strike at the same time as showing the Capital you’re not in favour of bullying people at work. However, I don’t think you will.

Johnson will use this strike in his propaganda war against trade unions. He’ll accuse trade unions of holding the Capital to ransom with its unfair demands. What he’ll fail to say is the drivers at the centre of the dispute have won a ruling that will in all probability go in favour of the sacked men.

Further to this he won’t tell the Capital why it is as Mayor of London, and thus in charge of Transport for London, in effect overseer of all public transport in London and the running of the entire transport system, private and public, why in his three-tears of tenure he has never sat down with the unions.

He sits down with bosses; he sits down with representatives of housing; and, he sits down with the large charities. Yet, when it comes to leaders of organisations that have a far more democratically representative of their members than say, the CBI, Tenants and Residents Associations or any of the big Charities, he refuses to negotiate.

While supportive of any action taken by the RMT on behalf of any members wrongly dismissed; like most people, I’m of the view that a strike is the measure of last resort – and by most people, I include most trade unionists.

As a disabled person I’m also, acutely aware of the disruption such events have on us. Tube strikes make it extremely difficult for me to access buses as a wheelchair user; and, as such, I generally tend not to travel on such days. Luckily, I work from home so this doesn’t cause me difficulty there. But then, I also refuse to travel on such days out of a sense of solidarity to both the strikers and to other bus users – one less person on the system and all that.

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