Tube workers played our part in opposing the English Defence League's provocative visit to East London yesterday.
It seems that originally, LU and the police had a plan to put on special train(s) from Hainault to Liverpool Street to bring the EDL to their demo. RMT reps objected, and told LU that it expected that members would refuse to work on safety grounds if hundreds of racist thugs came through their stations and onto their trains. LU management swiftly knocked the idea on the head, and the EDL itself admitted that the police told them that the initial plan had not taken account of the likelihood of RMT scuppering it. (Shortage of drivers on the Central Line may also have been a factor!) The union also got texts around advising members of their right to refuse to work on safety grounds.
However, although Kings Cross was closed for a short while for a 'fire alert' (that's what management called it, anyway), the EDL did eventually travel from Kings Cross to Moorgate with a police escort, through open gatelines, some drinking and smoking unchallenged by police, while ordinary passengers were kept out of the station and prevented from travelling. What a disgrace.
The EDL managed to hold a rally of several hundreds (estimates range from 600 to 1,000) in Aldgate, and a much smaller one (less than 100 of them) at Liverpool Street.
RMT National Executive member Janine Booth wrote on her Facebook page, "I was at Moorgate station saying they should close it, but management chose to keep it open and the police chose to help the EDL travel in preference to other passengers. I even saw an EDLer make threatening gestures to an Asian man on the platform from inside a train before the doors opened, and despite being aware of it, the police still allowed the train to open its doors and let them out onto the very same platform where the man was standing."
Read a more detailed report of the day's events here.