Eamonn Lynch reinstated: Strike threat forces Tube bosses to retreat

Submitted by Matthew on 11 May, 2011 - 12:47

Victimised Tube driver and union rep Eamonn Lynch has been reinstated to a station job with no loss of salary (he can reapply for his driver’s job after two years). He had won his Employment Tribunal.

For Arwyn Thomas, the other victimised rep, London Underground bosses have committed to “legal discussions” with a view to resolving the case before his Employment Tribunal is due to announce its decision.

As Solidarity went to press on 10 May, the strikes on London Underground due to begin on Monday 16 May were suspended by a big majority vote of the Train Grades strike committee.

This represents at least a partial victory for the RMT and a managed climb-down on the part of LUL bosses.

The decision to suspend the strikes will be reviewed on Monday 16 May and, if Arwyn Thomas has not been reinstated by that time, strikes will be put back on. The following article was written before the strikes were suspended.

With hindsight, escalating the dispute was the correct course of action, but at the time it was a very brave and courageous decision to take.

Both the Executive member, Janine Booth and the Regional Organiser Steve Hedley must be congratulated for their part in escalating across the combine. Historically, taking a dispute about victimisation from the local area to across the region has never been done successfully, but the determination of our activists has delivered the mandate for strike action.

The importance of this decision cannot be underestimated. LUL [London Underground Limited] had previously shown scant regard for strike action taken on both the Bakerloo and Northern Lines; we had to send a clear and decisive message to our bosses that an attack on RMT union reps was not acceptable.

Allowing our reps to be sacked without challenge would result in a more belligerent and ruthless management structure, with workers reluctant to put themselves forward to represent union members. This would undermine the years of struggle to build effective and independent trade unions.

I am immensely proud that my union and the members have demonstrated such solid support, but it should come as no surprise; throughout this ordeal the members of the RMT have offered great solidarity and shown that they are the best women and men can be.

Every victory against the employer should be celebrated. This victory is hugely significant and possibly one of the most important judgements from Tribunal in recent history.

Equally important is the victory at Tribunal gives us more confidence in securing a win for Arwyn Thomas at his ET in May.

Without a shadow of doubt, success in this campaign could put management on the back foot more generally. We have bought the whole region together, showing the benefits of well-organised and well-orchestrated disputes.

It is fair to say that following the jobs cuts dispute, our morale was fairly flat and management were exploiting that. The campaign for our reinstatement has demonstrated the willingness of the RMT to stand up for their members. LUL would do well to take notice of this.

Boris Johnson’s call for new anti-union laws is deeply hypocritical. Did over 50% of Londoners vote for the current Mayor? 2008 election turnout was 45%.

What about the current ConDem Government? Less than 36% voted for this shower. At local council level, the average turnout for elections is 35%.

We should not be surprised that the ConDems wish to distract attention away from the swingeing cuts currently taking effect.

Would this desire to prevent workers striking be as a result of workers in general realising they can make a difference if they get organised and mount effective fight back campaigns? The anti-cuts march and the RMT’s stance on my and Arwyn’s cases have shown the way forward.

It’s better to go down fighting than meekly walk away and accept defeat.

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