Posted 8th May 2017 | 4 Comments

Underground staff walk out over sacking row

LONDON Underground staff have been striking at London Bridge in a dispute over a sacking at the station, and although they returned to work at 22.00 last night (8 May) staff will not enforce fares at the station until further notice, by refusing to challenge passengers or service ticket machines.

There are also warnings that the disruption could spread elsewhere on the system.

The industrial action by the RMT follows the dismissal of an employee at London Bridge accused of ‘unacceptable conduct’ during a confrontation with a passenger. The union said “a fare-dodger assaulted two members of staff, including pushing a pregnant colleague in the stomach. One staff member had his glasses stolen and was punched twice.”

The RMT had defended the member of staff concerned, saying he should have been praised for dealing with a violent member of the public.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the action taken by London Underground was ‘outrageous’: “Our members are standing up in support of their victimised colleagues at London Bridge and with LU making it absolutely clear they have no interest in the principles of natural justice we have no option at all but to take this industrial action.  We have no doubt that the public will understand that.

“Despite the spin from LU the facts of this case remain the same. ‎It is about a fare dodger stopped and asked to pay his way who then turns violent and attacks staff doing their job. LU's message to thugs is that you can keep on fiddling your fares and lay into staff with impunity and it will be the front line tube workers who get the sack. It is outrageous.”

He continued: “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. It is also an insult to the three million Tube users who pay their fares without expecting a free ride.”

London Underground has denied the union’s version of events.

Operations director Brian Woodhead said: “CCTV footage from a number of different angles clearly shows a staff member displaying unacceptable conduct when dealing with a member of the public. The member of staff was dismissed following a full and thorough investigation.

”We have subsequently invited the general secretary of the union to view the footage himself but our invitation has not been accepted.”

The RMT is now balloting its Underground members at other stations over further industrial action.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • James palma, London

    Seriously steve from crewe? When you viewed the cctv what did you see? Or were you there perhaps? Sorry. Or were you in the discipli aty interviews? No? Thought not. Many LU managers started as station staff so know the crack and what happens in heated situations and the investigators also have seen the cctv. Taken witness statements. Interviewed the respondent etc.etc. the RMT bloke hasnt. Nor i can guarantee have any RMT reps representing the suspended employee. What the RMT reps have seen is the cctv of the incident and what their member has said. Not the whole facts is it? And if the head of RMT is refusing to view the cctv there is a good reason. Its a fight he knows he will lose.

  • Steve Alston, Crewe

    If "unacceptable conduct" was shown on the CCTV why have BTP not prosecuted the employee for this suggested physical assault? As no audio is available of the incident, anything allegedly said simply did not happen either.

    So with both of those out - surely it is TfL whose story has fallen apart not the RMT's.

    What is "unacceptable conduct" in the eyes of these office-based cowards? Not tipping their hats and calling someone m'lady?

    I would love the RMT to grow a pair, and bring two private prosecutions alongside the tribunal - 1- Against the violent passenger comitting travel fraud and 2- Against TfL managers for failing in their duty of care in protecting their employees from violence and their subsequent decisions to blame their own employee.

    Too many people working in easy, often undemanding office jobs are very quick to pass judgement on people out there in uniforms, putting up with ___ 24/7 in our increasingly stupid country.

  • Lee, Manchester

    Why is it that the RMT's first and only response to any sort of disagreement is to go on strike? Negotiation seems to come second place and then seems to consist of 'Give us what we want, as we want it on our terms or else'. As far as I can see, the only party being unreasonable is the RMT.

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    So mick refuses to view the evidence.
    The truth? Mick Cash can't handle the truth.