London

Tube strikes: RMT demands talks as driver wins tribunal

A Tube driver at the centre of a strike threat has won his claim for unfair dismissal, sparking calls for talks to avert the planned industrial action.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union called six strikes after Eamonn Lynch was sacked for breaking safety rules.

The union said it wanted immediate talks with Transport for London (TfL).

But TfL said talks could not be held as the tribunal process was ongoing in Mr Lynch's case and that of a second driver claiming unfair dismissal.

'Return to work'

Up to 1,500 drivers could walk-out over the next few weeks over the sacking of Mr Lynch and Arwyn Thomas.

The walkouts are planned to last for between nine and 24 hours from 16 - 20 May and again from 13 - 17 June.

The RMT claimed the pair were unfairly dismissed because of their trade union activities.

Welcoming the outcome of Mr Lynch's employment tribunal, the RMT's Bob Crow said they were calling for an "immediate meeting with LU".

"With the clear parallel with Arywn Thomas's case there is now an urgent need for London Underground to meet with the RMT to set out a plan for a return to work that can avoid plunging London into two blocks of strike action that everyone knows will lead to massive disruption," he said.

"The tribunal has found in favour of the RMT, justice has been done and now we need to... finalise arrangements that can enable us to move forwards as quickly as possible."

'Unacceptable behaviour'

Transport for London said it would study the outcome of the employment tribunal judgment and consider its next steps.  

A statement said: "Whilst the tribunal has made a finding of unfair dismissal it also found... Mr Lynch breached an established and significant safety rule and was in part culpable or blameworthy for his actions."

It said the tribunal process had not yet concluded in both cases and there was "absolutely no need for the RMT to continue to seek to disrupt London through strikes".

It said the RMT should call off the strike threat immediately.

TfL said Mr Thomas was dismissed for unacceptable and abusive behaviour towards colleagues.

Meanwhile the RMT said it was planning to ballot Jubilee Line drivers for industrial action, short of a strike, over changes to safety procedures.

TfL said: "LU carried out full consultation with all trade unions and gave drivers a briefing before the change was implemented last week."

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