THE RMT transport union last Tuesday agreed to suspend strike action due to begin next week pending further an agreement by London Underground Limited to re-employ union activist Eamonn Lynch, who had been unfairly sacked, and to discuss further the position of Arwyn Thomas – also unfairly sacked.
An employment tribunal has already ruled that Lynch was unfairly dismissed; Thomas’s case is still to be heard but LUL has agreed to discuss his position in advance of the hearing.
At a preliminary hearing at the end of last year both Lynch and Thomas were awarded full pay while waiting the outcome of their cases – a condition that tribunals rarely make unless they think the workers have a very sound case.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “This dispute has only ever been about securing justice for our members who have been unfairly dismissed.
“As a result of this agreement Eamonn Lynch can return to work with his continuity of employment and standard of living protected.
“We now also have an agreement to enter into further discussions with relation to Arwyn Thomas aimed at resolving his unfair dismissal case in advance of his Employment Tribunal.
“As a result we have agreed to suspend the action to allow those further discussions to take place over the next week.
“I want to pay tribute to the loyalty and determination of our members on London Underground who have continued to stand shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues Eamonn and Arwyn.
“Their strength and courage has been a shining example to the entire trade union movement.”
Throughout the dispute London Mayor Boris Johnson has absolutely refused to meet RMT negotiators and instead has berated Business Secretary Vince Cable for failing to formulate new anti-union laws to outlaw strike on the London Underground.
Cable responded by telling Johnson to “get off his backside” and talk to Crow and told Johnson it was his job to “reach out” to the unions.
He said that ministers were “not in the mood” to be blamed for Johnson’s “lack of strategy”.
Tory Employment Relations Minister Ed Davey apologised to Cable because Johnson “was behaving in an embarrassing way” over the impending strikes – that would have shut down the Tube network for three days this month and another three in June.
Davey said that Johnson should stop asking the Government to solve the problem and criticised him for failing to talk to the RMT for two years.
“Boris is trying to pass the buck when actually the buck stops with City Hall,” said Davey.