RMT BALLOT FOR ACTION OPENS TODAY OVER “LONDON BRIDGE THREE” – TUBE STAFF SACKED AND DISCIPLINED FOR STOPPING VIOLENT ASSAULT
Tube union RMT has confirmed that balloting of station staff across the London Bridge and Waterloo group for both strike action and action short of a strike has opened today after one member was sacked and two others disciplined for intervening to stop a serious assault by a fare-dodger on fellow staff members including one who was pregnant. The ballot will close on the 18th April.
In the incident, which occurred last November, a fare-dodger assaulted three members of staff, including pushing a pregnant colleague in the stomach. One staff member had his glasses stolen and another was punched twice. That member of staff has now been sacked in what the union describes as an “appalling miscarriage of justice.” RMT has slammed LU for bogus and disgraceful claims that the female member of staff wasn’t assaulted – despite the fact that they admitted that crucial fact in the disciplinary hearings.
The staff member who initially challenged the fare-dodger to produce a ticket or oyster card was disciplined on the ludicrous, trumped-up charge of “ inciting or provoking an incident.” A third member of staff, who defused the situation after being repeatedly threatened with violence, has also been disciplined by London Underground when they should have been commended for their bravery.
As a result one member of staff has been sacked with the other two members receiving 52 week final warnings.
The sacked member of staff has since had his dismissal upheld on appeal leading to a warning from the union that it is actively looking at escalation of the dispute.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“This is one of the most appalling abuses of the LU disciplinary procedure that RMT has ever come across. This was a shocking, violent incident and those that bore the brunt of it should have been supported and commended by the company. Instead they have been sacked or disciplined in what is the most appalling multiple miscarriage of justice.
“The ballot for strike action and action short of a strike of station staff members at London Bridge and Waterloo opens today and the union is looking at a planned escalation if London Underground continue to pursue this outrageous vendetta against staff members set up and picked off for simply doing their job in a violent situation. The union also intends to bring this matter to the attention of London Mayor Sadiq Khan who cannot sit back and ignore a travesty of justice that is taking place on his watch.
“LU have flouted their own zero tolerance policy, their own duty of care to their staff and have sent out a message to fare dodgers and yobbos that staff can be treated as punch bags with impunity. That is an outrage that has enraged every single tube employee who risks their neck on the stations and platforms against a backdrop of a growing pattern of abuse and violence.”
“London Underground should do the decent thing – reinstate our member, lift the disciplinary action and send out the message that fare-dodging and violence will not be tolerated and that staff in the front line will get the support and assistance that they need.”