The RMT's planned tube strikes are still planned to go ahead from Sunday evening through to Monday morning. RMT leader Bob Crow has accused the London Underground of trying to undermine the union's campaign ahead of the employment tribunal of sacked member Arwyn Thomas.
The London Underground refutes such suggestions and its Managing Director Mike Brown has once again called on Bob Crow to end the series of strikes that plan to hit London on Sunday and Monday. In a letter to Crow, Mike Brown has urged the RMT to call off the industrial action, reassuring the RMT of London Underground's commitment to 'abiding by the tribunal's ruling in respect of Mr Thomas.'
Mr Brown also 're-iterated' his assurances to Mr Crow; 'Once the Tribunal has run its course, we will respond and follow the direction that the Tribunal gives - specifically if the Tribunal rule to reinstate or re-engage Arwyn Thomas, then we will do so.'
What can the possible justification be for strike action if the London Underground has agreed to accept all terms of the upcoming tribunal? Simply, there is none. The London Underground has worked hard to try and avert strike action but the RMT have dragged their heels in on every issue. There is no reason by strike action should be taking place on Sunday and Monday. The RMT union are motivated to strike action before the tribunal has delivered it verdict. There is nothing to suggest that the London Underground will lose the case, so strike action has no justification. The only people who will lose out in this are the passengers once again.
The London Underground has reiterated their assurances to Bob Crow and in return strike action should be averted. If the RMT felt that their concerns were being ignored, this letter should allay them. Of course, if the London Underground turns their back on their word after the details of the tribunal have been announced, strike action would be fully justified. Only after the tribunal will the RMT have any credibility to cause mass disruption on Sunday and Monday. To go ahead with strike action before any decision has been reached, after concerns have been raised, does nothing for the credibility of the union.
Transport for London expects to run a near normal service on Sunday evening and Monday morning with little to impact on customers but as we have seen with other disputes the reality on the ground is different. Just because TFL does not expect this industrial action to cause widespread problems it doesn't justify strike action. RMT should accept the letter sent by Mr Brown and half strike action that will do nothing but further sour the relationship between the two parties.