UPDATE 24/06: And the strikes are off. Following a day of talks between the RMT and TfL, TfL have agreed to reinstate Mr Thomas (though to a different, non-customer facing role) on the condition that the strikes are called off.
From the RMT website here:
"All the evidence clearly shows Arwyn [Thomas, the RMT member at the centre of the recent strike] has been targeted because of his trade union activities..."
And again from the RMT, published yesterday here:
"Arwyn Thomas’s Employment Tribunal today found that the London Underground driver was unfairly dismissed and that "no reasonable employer would have dismissed him in these circumstances." "
This is what TfL had to say:
"Contrary to the claims of the RMT leadership, Tribunal finds that Mr. Thomas was not dismissed because of his union activities.... Mr. Thomas found to be 50 per cent blameworthy for his dismissal...
"the tribunal found that - although LU were right to discipline Mr.Thomas - other options than dismissal should have been explored, therefore he was unfairly dismissed. Given these findings, and the fact that the tribunal has not recommended that Mr.Thomas be re-instated, TfL will now be considering the findings in detail."
The RMT are threatening a further three strikes unless Mr Thomas is re-instated.
Cooler heads must prevail. The Mayor and Mr Crow need to diffuse the situation, and fast.
Whilst this goes on, the Mayor's office and TfL management need to urgently understand why TfL's HR team have allowed a situation to develop where two members of staff were let go when other forms of censure had not been explored. When relations with the unions are as fractious as they currently are it's simply not acceptable for TfL to allow a culture where over-severe disciplinary measures result in London being held to ransom.
TfL seem to have the public's sympathy over strike action. If these strikes are not resolved soon they may find that is no longer the case.
The remaining proposed RMT strikes will be held on:
21.01 hours on Monday 27th June 2011 and 11.59 Hours on Tuesday 28th June 2011
12.00 hours on Wednesday 29th June 2011 and 11.59 hours on Thursday 30th June 2011
12.00 hours on Friday 1st July 2011 and 21.00 hours on Friday 1st July 2011