Central Line drivers will strike again over 21-22 December, to demand the reinstatement of unjustly sacked colleague Paul Bailey.
Paul was sacked after passing a random drugs test; although he registered for the presence of cannabinoid substances, due to taking hemp supplements, he was within the “cut off limit” of 50ng/ml.
RMT rightly says Paul’s sacking “undermines the integrity of London Underground’s entire drugs and alcohol testing regime.” Management seems to be worried they might be right; they recently issued guidance to staff not to take hemp supplements, even though they are entirely legal and sold on the high street.
The strike doubles up as further action in RMT’s dispute against what it calls a “breakdown in industrial relations” on the line. Translated out of union jargon, this means that drivers are justifiably fed up with being pushed around by bullying bosses, who maintain an increasingly authoritarian culture.
The 21-22 December strike will involve Night Tube drivers on the Central Line, only the second time Night Tube workers have taken industrial action since the service was launched.
The strike is likely to have a huge impact, on what is normally the busiest pre-Christmas shopping weekend of the year. But there’s every possibility one more push won’t be enough. RMT is rightly looking to convene an assembly of driver reps and activists to map out an ongoing strategy for the dispute. A plan needs to be put in place for sustained and escalating action if management don’t back down.
See you on the picket lines!