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Monday, July 28, 2008

100 Tube staff strike over staff assault

If you're travelling on the Bakerloo Line today and use Charing Cross, Elephant & Castle and Lambeth North stations, you might notice some picketing London Underground staff. From 7pm on Sunday night 100 LU staff staged a
24 hour walkout over the sacking of a colleague.

Jerome Bowes, a station assistant at Elephant & Castle station, was sacked for defending himself against the assault from a passenger who had already been involved in a fight. According to the RMT union, neither the Metropolitan Police nor the British Transport Police felt that there was anything to arrest Bowes for.

D*n't t@ke !t out by Mags

The fight took place on New Year's Eve and RMT leader Bob Crow said:

"Jerome Bowes was sacked for defending himself against an attack from behind from someone who had already been involved in a fight on the most volatile night of the year, and that is unacceptable,

"Neither the Met nor the BTP found any cause to arrest Jerome, who was walking away towards a place of safety when he was assaulted, and it beggars belief that LUL has seen fit to dismiss him.

"The message London Underground seems to be sending out is that defending yourself against violent assault is to be regarded as a disciplinary offence, and it is no wonder that our members are angry and disgusted
."

It's a fairly tricky one this, as just because the police didn't feel that Bowes should be arrested, doesn't necessarily mean that LU aren't within their rights to sack him.

The fairness of this is a different matter. London Underground told the BBC that "We do not tolerate any assault, verbal or physical, on staff or passengers." There's even posters about it on the Tube (see above). However, they go ahead and sack a man for defending himself against a violent attack. Now that to me, and presumably to the 100 striking staff on the Bakerloo line, seems wrong.


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