RMT drivers on the Bakerloo Line have seriously bloodied the bosses' collective nose, after LU was forced into an embarrassing climbdown over a sacked Queen's Park driver. The company has agreed to reinstate the driver, after the RMT Bakerloo Line branch decided to ballot for strikes to demand he got his job back.
The driver was sacked for a non-safety-related staff error that should've dealt with as a performance or coaching issue. Instead, LU made a knee-jerk decision to sack him and, shockingly, upheld the decision at appeal. They were savaged by the Tribunal judge who found them 85% culpable and ruled the sack unfair, recommending reinstatement.
Tribunal courts have no power to compel employers to reinstate sacked workers, so we must conclude that the threat of strikes was the crucial element in forcing LU's hand.
Union sources estimate that LU's costs for the case could run to several hundred thousand pounds, at a time when Tube bosses are imposing austerity and cutting jobs. The RMT Bakerloo branch rightly plans to use momentum from this success to go on the offensive against an increasingly authoritarian management culture.