Reinstate Arwyn now. Nothing less!

Submitted by Matthew on 22 June, 2011 - 12:59

Update 22 June: The Employment Tribunal today found that London Underground dismissed Arwyn Thomas unfairly.

The Employment Tribunal panel in the case of sacked Tube driver Arwyn Thomas convened a week earlier than expected to decide on its verdict. That suggests that there is significant pressure to see this dispute closed.

The panel is now due to announce its decision on Wednesday 22 June, but as things stand the strike beginning on Monday 27 will go ahead because right now Arwyn does not have his job back. It's as simple as that.

A meeting of the Train Grades Committee, which is made up of rank-and-file reps, voted unanimously on 21 June that the union should keep the strikes on until Arwyn is back at work. But that committee does not have the final say in the dispute.

The Executive has now agreed to make payments from the Dispute Fund to everyone who took part in Sunday's strike and to everyone who strikes next week. That is an important step forward, as it recognises the financial hardship drivers have experienced through taking up to ten days' strike action over the last year, in both this dispute and our fight against stations job cuts. It also means that members can less easily use not being able to afford to lose pay as an excuse to break the strike!

It will be a significant boost for us if the Tribunal panel rules in our favour, but we have to remember that workers and our unions are the ones who have to enforce workplace justice; we cannot rely on Tribunal decisions.

We have had a few victories in Tribunals recently, but we should not let that cloud our understanding that they are essentially bosses' courts. Arwyn was sacked because of his trade union activity; we do not need a judge to tell us (or, more accurately, another judge, as his Interim Relief hearing already found in his favour).

The strike action on Sunday night did its job and kept our ballot mandate live for further action next week. The Evening Standard is peddling a contradictory story, claiming the strike had no effect but then interviewing people complaining about all the disruption it causes. It is similar to a recent Daily Mail story that claimed that immigrants are taking all the jobs while simultaneously calling them workshy scroungers.

Rattled by our union's willingness to fight, the right-wing press campaign against the RMT — and against Bob Crow personally — has plumbed new depths recently. We can not let anti-union propaganda, from either newspapers or management, knock us off course.

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