In the last issue of Solidarity, we reported how London Underground infrastructure contractor Metronet was attempting to victimise RMT rep Andy Littlechild. Following the threat of strikes, the union has won the dispute, with Andy keeping his job and his grade.
This is doubtless due to the strong response from his workmates, who immediately balloted for strike action and made their support for Andy clear. Metronet knew they were facing the prospect of a massive Yes vote and effective strike action that could have coincided with the bus workers’ strike on 22 October.
RMT balloted the whole of its Metronet membership, not just Andy's own workplace, and kicked off the ballot as soon as he was suspended rather than waiting for him to be sacked. This is in contrast to other anti-victimisation campaigns, where action has been kept more local and has taken time to get off the ground, thus making the union appear weaker. Perhaps in those other cases, it was not possible to do more, but Andy’s case shows that the more decisive the action, the better chance of winning.
However, the issues of PPE and management thinking they can rewrite risk assessments are still with us; the union must assert its right to defend its members' safety and rights at work.
• More on class struggle Underground: www.workersliberty.org/twblog