Tube strike: Anatomy of an industrial dispute

We're not far away from more Tube strikes over the case of sacked driver and union activist Arwyn Thomas.

I've been trying to piece together why it's happening and above is my TV report on it.

London Underground (LU) dismissed the driver for what it described at the time as "unacceptable and abusive behaviour towards colleagues."

LU also said: "A full investigation was carried out as part of the disciplinary process, and union membership had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the decision to dismiss him. Transport for London will simply not tolerate aggressive or bullying behaviour towards our passengers or staff."

The RMT, however, says he was sacked for union activities and a full tribunal is due to give its judgement soon.

An interim relief hearing - held to decide whether pay should be reinstated - has already heard some evidence.

The documents submitted give an indication of what actually happened. They also clearly show how the judge thinks the full tribunal will rule in the next few weeks.

Evidence put in front of Judge Elliott included photographs, CCTV footage, written submissions from the RMT and LU, and an e-mail from a member of the public.

They cover two incidents on the date of a previous strike over ticket office closures on 4 October 2010.

In the first at Morden, it is alleged by LU that Thomas swore at a manager - something he denies.

In the second at Kennington, Thomas admits calling a supervisor a scab and a strike-breaker.

A member of the public who was present at Morden said in an e-mail: "His behaviour was fairly disrespectful but nobody was aggressive. They just told him he couldn't ask that, it was none of his business and asked him to leave."

The judge agrees and stated: "He was regretful and it is also notable that he had 29 years of unblemished service."

The Judge also says: "Based on the available material, the Claimant has a pretty good chance of success at the full hearing...[of proving he was wrongly dismissed for unions activities and not abusive behaviour.]"

The RMT will be confident it can get a result at the tribunal, so why strike?

Well, it says it has to strike now otherwise the 56-day time limit on its strike mandate runs out and it has to be 100% sure Arwyn Thomas is reinstated.

TfL says there's absolutely no justification for the RMT to threaten Londoners with disruption and that having sought an employment tribunal, the RMT leadership must let it run its course.

UPDATE: 14:45

Talks between the RMT and LU at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, ACAS, broke down on Wednesday afternoon...

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