Last Saturday, drivers on the Bakerloo line and at the Northern line's Morden depot again took strike action to demand the reinstatement of sacked workmates Eamonn Lynch (RMT health & safety rep) and Arwyn Thomas (longstanding RMT activist) respectively. Despite management turning up the pressure on drivers to break the strike, both actions held up, with some support from ASLEF members as well as RMT.
But London Underground remains unmoved, and has now added another rep to its list of victimisations, having sacked Peter Hartshorn yesterday. Peter, who is RMT's rep on the Green Park group, was sacked after a manager accused him of swearing at him, despite several witnesses saying that they heard no such thing. The manager concerned has previously had a grievance upheld against him for anti-union behaviour, and Peter was carrying out union duties at the time of the alleged incident, so it is clear as day that he has been sacked because he is an effective union rep.
This situation is very serious. Not only are these sackings grossly unfair to Eamonn, Arwyn and Peter, they are also an attack on RMT, on all unions, and on our ability to defend ourselves. If we can not win their reinstatement, then members who might previously considered putting themselves forward to be union reps will think again, and the unions will become much weaker in the workplace.
So far, the campaigns to defend the sacked reps have focused around their particular areas and branches, though the RMT Regional Council has publicised them around the job. We now need rank-and-file members from every line and grade, and members of other unions, to rally round to fight off this attack.