RMT Begins Strike Ballot On London Midland Over Member Victimised For Resisting Assault

RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that a ballot for both strike action and action short of a strike has opened on London Midland over the victimisation of a Revenue Protection Officer sacked by the company for resisting a physical and verbal assault by a known troublemaker.

James Crabtree is a London Midland Revenue Protection Inspector and on the day the incident took place he was working on the gateline at Watford Junction. James was verbally abused and physically pushed by a well-known troublemaker when he asked to see a valid travel ticket. The situation rapidly intensified when the lout stood in front of James Crabtree and continued the verbal abuse, in the process spitting chewed up food all over his uniform coat. In fear of being physically assaulted and to protect his own wellbeing, James pushed the aggressive and threatening individual from his personal space in a clear act of self-defence.

Instead of protecting a member of staff dealing with a violent situation in a vulnerable position London Midland have instead opted to turn logic on its head and level a series of trumped-up and nonsensical charges against James Crabtree and, refusing to listen to reason from the union, have opted to sack him while the perpetrator has got away with it.

RMT has stated policy of fighting abuse and assaults on rail staff, a commitment clearly shared by London Midland in words only, and as a result of this latest travesty of justice involving a revenue protection inspector the union will today begin balloting RPI members in the southern arm of London Midland for both strike action and action short of strike in pursuit of the campaign for justice for James Crabtree and his immediate reinstatement. The ballot will close on 16th April.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“London Midland display posters at their stations stipulating ‘we always prosecute those who intimidate and abuse or assault our staff.’ Yet the company has failed miserably in their duty of care and support towards James Crabtree. Instead of protecting him, the company has dismissed him in the most blatant travesty of workplace justice – siding instead with a known troublemaker who is the kind of menace who should be barred from our railways

“RMT is clear that the trumped-up allegations levelled against James are unfounded and that the harsh decision taken by London Midland is not only intimidating but highly offensive towards a hardworking, loyal member of staff. RMT has therefore informed the company that a dispute situation now exists between our two organisations and that RMT demand the immediate reinstatement of James Crabtree.

“RMT remains available for talks aimed at righting this appalling miscarriage of workplace justice which sends out a signal to thugs that rail staff are fair game for abuse and intimidation.”