London

Talks over Tube strike for sacked driver

The Rail Maritime and Transport union are meeting with London Underground (LU) over a planned strike following the sacking of a driver.

The talks come as an interim hearing judge suggested a tribunal was "likely" to find Arwyn Thomas was dismissed for his union activities.

The union asked LU to reinstate Mr Thomas, failing which they will begin their series of strikes from Sunday.

LU said it was "mystified" why RMT cannot hold off until the judgement.

Abusive behaviour allegations

The strikes are due to take place between Sunday, the day before the Wimbledon tennis championships, and 1 July.

The union and LU began the meeting at the conciliation service Acas at about 1030 BST on Wednesday.

Image caption The judge suggested Arwyn Thomas was sacked for his union activities

The tribunal has heard the case of the Northern Line driver Mr Thomas, who was dismissed for alleged abusive behaviour, and will deliver its full judgment later this month. Mr Thomas has been an union activist for 30 years.

BBC London has obtained documents of an interim relief hearing which was held to decide whether Mr Thomas should be on full pay since his dismissal in December 2010.

In it the judge gives an indication what the full judgement could be and reinstated the driver's full pay.

The allegations against Mr Thomas relate to two incidents in Morden and Kennington during a previous strike on 4 October - in one he denies swearing at a manager and in the second he admits calling a manager a "scab" and a "strike breaker".

The judge said: "It is likely that the tribunal will find... that the reason for dismissal was that the claimant had taken part in the activities of an independent trade union."

LU's managing director Mike Brown said they want to wait for the full judgement before making a decision in the case.

He added: "I am mystified that there would be a call for further industrial action in the timeline and the scale that is being proposed."

RMT leader Bob Crow said: "The only reason we were going on strike was because LU sacked him. If LU reinstate him we won't be going on strike.

"Why not do it now and let people enjoy Wimbledon."

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