Latest Rail News

01.12.14

Northern Line drivers strike over sacking

Tube drivers on part of the London Underground (LU) have started a 24-hour strike over the sacking of a train operator, whom the RMT union says has been “victimised” but LUL says failed an alcohol breath test. 

RMT union members on the Northern Line started the walk-out at 04.44 this morning, with the action finishing at 04.43 tomorrow (Tuesday). 

The RMT suggests Alex McGuigan’s case is exceptional because he has diabetes, which can interfere with the test. Eamonn Lynch from the RMT said: “Alex was dismissed for failing a breath test. LUL were aware he has type 2 diabetes and the probability of registering a false positive was known. But LUL destroyed the urine sample that would have given a definitive answer.” 

The RMT explained: “An appeal hearing was held, but the decision to dismiss Brother McGuigan was upheld and in line with the agreed machinery, RMT general secretary Mick Cash has met with LU Managing Director Mike Brown and a Director’s Review of this matter has also now taken place but so far, Brother McGuigan has not been reinstated.” 

Acas negotiations failed last week. 

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “Our members are standing rock solid, shoulder to shoulder with their victimised colleague and as we have said all along the union is determined to secure a just and fair outcome to this dispute.” 

LU said a ‘good service’ is being operated on the Northern Line today despite the strike action. Phil Hufton, LU’s chief operating officer, said: “We have been clear from the outset that the RMT had absolutely no basis to take strike action after one of their members was dismissed for failing an alcohol breath test. This strike is inappropriate and will achieve nothing whatsoever.” 

However, Cash argues that reports of a ‘normal service’ are nonsense “as special bus services are being set up in a desperate bid to ease the pressure”. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

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