Tube union RMT reacted with fury today after London Underground upheld the sacking of a staff member who intervened to stop a violent fare dodger from assaulting colleagues in an incident at London Bridge last autumn.
RMT is already balloting station staff across the London Bridge group for both strike action and action short of a strike after the member was sacked, and two others disciplined, for stepping in to stop the serious assault by the fare-dodger on fellow staff members including one who was pregnant. The unions executive will now consider an escalation of the dispute.
In the incident, which occurred last November, the fare-dodger assaulted three members of staff, including punching in the stomach a pregnant colleague. One staff member had his glasses stolen and another was punched twice. That member of staff has now been sacked, and has had that sacking upheld after appeal, in what the union describes as an “appalling miscarriage of justice.”
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.
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 disgraceful miscarriage of justice.
"This is a disgusting and sickening outcome and RMT intends to fight it all the way. As well as our ballot of staff on the London Bridge Group our Executive will look at escalation of the dispute over a case that will send shock waves throughout London Underground.
"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 will enrage every single tube employee who risks their neck on the stations and platforms against a backdrop of a growing pattern of abuse and violence."
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