Tube strike 2017: A 24-hour industrial action has been set for 7-8 May, RMT union has announced

Caitlin Morrison
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Tube workers will stage a walkout from 10pm on 7 May (Source: Getty)

London Underground workers are to stage a 24-hour strike from 10pm on May 7 and take other forms of industrial action in a dispute over the sacking of a colleague, the RMT union has announced.

Tube workers have been instructed not to book on for any shifts commencing 22:00 on Sunday 7 May 2017 until 21:59 on Monday 8 May 2017.

Meanwhile, all RMT members working at London Bridge have been instructed to take the following actions short of a strike commencing 22:00 on 7 May: not to service any ticket machines and not to challenge customers who refuse to produce a valid ticket/oyster/bank card or permit for travel.

The union said workers had voted to strike after one of its members was sacked and two others disciplined "for intervening to stop a serious assault (at London Bridge) station by a fare-dodger on fellow staff members including one who was pregnant".

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our members have voted for action in support of their victimised colleagues at London Bridge and with London Underground (LU) making it absolutely clear they have no interest in the principles of natural justice we have no option at all but to move to a campaign of industrial action. The union executive will also continue to look at a programme of escalation in this critically important dispute.

"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 appalling multiple miscarriage of justice."

Cash accused LU of flouting "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," he added.

"London Underground should do the decent thing – reinstate our member, lift the disciplinary action and send out the message that fare-dodging and violence will not be tolerated and that staff in the front line will get the support and assistance that they need."

Phil O’Hare, general manager of the Jubilee line, said: "After a thorough investigation, which included an extensive review of CCTV footage that we are confident completely contradicts the account of the individual in question, the decision to dismiss this member of staff has been upheld.

"As part of the established disciplinary process, a senior level review of the case is now underway. We take a zero tolerance approach to violence against our staff but similarly expect our employees to adhere to acceptable standards of conduct and behaviour when dealing with members of the public.We urge the RMT to withdraw this call for strike action, which will only result in needless disruption to Londoners, while the disciplinary process is still ongoing."

Why are the Tube workers striking?

The RMT said members are taking industrial action over an incident which occurred last November, in which a fare-dodger assaulted three members of staff, including pushing a pregnant colleague in the stomach.

The union said one staff member had his glasses stolen and another was punched twice. That member of staff has now been sacked in what the union describes as an “appalling miscarriage of justice.”

RMT has slammed LU for "bogus and disgraceful claims that the female member of staff wasn’t assaulted – despite the fact that they admitted that crucial fact in the disciplinary hearings".

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'", the RMT said.

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".

According to the RMT, the incident resulted in one member of staff being sacked with the other two members receiving 52 week final warnings.

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