RMT has suspended the strike of Central Line drivers planned for 21-22 December, which sought the reinstatement of sacked driver Paul Bailey, citing "new evidence" presented by management. The union's statement can be read here.
Whatever this "new evidence" is, it's something management have clearly been sitting on since the dispute began. Whether cock-up or conspiracy prevented them from releasing it until now, it's scandalous that they haven't done so. RMT has fought against a mismanaged procedure on the basis of the facts the union had available, and were entirely right to do so. Paul's case will now continue at Employment Tribunal, where those arguments about LU's woeful mishandling of the case can be pursued.
The strike also doubled up as action in a wider dispute about authoritarian management culture on the line. RMT reps says concessions on this have been secured, including a commitment from management to review ongoing attendance and disciplinary cases. Whether these are sufficient to have warranted the suspension of the strike is a difficult call, but it's important that this dispute is not allowed to fade away. We know from the experience of the Picc Line dispute that action may still be necessary to force management to keep to their commitments.
The disputes on the Central Line, Picc Line, and now on the H&C at Barking, where Aslef drivers plan strikes on 10 and 23 January, show that there's an obvious problem across the job with bosses at train depots throwing their weight around. Our unions need to show some joined-up thinking and coordinate the trains side disputes.