Drivers on London Underground, members of the RMT union, will strike on 19-20 June, 27-28 June, 29-30 June, and 1 July to win reinstatement for union activist Arwyn Thomas.
After two days of strike in late 2010, and an RMT decision to strike again in mid-May, Tube bosses backed down on another victimisation, and reinstated Eamonn Lynch. After signalling that they would concede Arwyn Thomas’s case too, they have stonewalled on that, and so new strike decisions have been necessary.
Arwyn was sacked on trumped-up disciplinary charges following unproven allegations made against him by strike breakers. At his interim relief hearing, the Tribunal ruled that London Underground had sacked him unfairly, unlawfully, and because of his trade union activities. It ordered LUL to pay Arwyn full wages until the tribunal procedures were complete.
In an unusual move, the Tribunal invited LU bosses to take a 15 minute adjournment and consider reinstating Arwyn straight away. The bosses said no.
Now they say that they “can’t see” why the RMT is striking before the Tribunal has published its final decision, which could be as late as September.
They have answered their own question. Even if the Tribunal rules that Arwyn should be reinstated, legally LU can refuse to do so. LU will reinstate him only under union pressure.
The RMT is right to apply that pressure now, rather than letting time make the issue fade and Arwyn’s exclusion from the workplace become a routine fact.