HEX: RMT members vote 80% in favour of strike action in support of victimised staff representative and dismissed driver.
Posted by admin | Posted in News, Press Release, Publications, Reports, Strike | Posted on 08-02-2012
By Patrick Hardie Industrial Relations Editor
Staff working for Heathrow Express have returned an overwhelming result for ballot action in support of their RMT representative and a Driver Member.
This is as a result of the unfair dismissal of a driver member (Zahid Majid) and of a campaign of harassment and victimisation against a staff representative (Liaqat Ali).
Nearly 80% have voted to strike in a ballot of drivers over the sacking of driver member Zahid Majid and over 80% for strike action in a ballot of all Heathrow Express staff over the continued victimisation of RMT rep Liaqat Ali. There were even bigger votes in both ballots for action short of a strike.
RMT staff representative Liaqat Ali has been subjected to a barrage of unfounded, spurious and discriminatory allegations by management and it is absolutely clear to the union that he is being targeted due to his trade union activities and for being involved in organising a solid, fighting union within the company which has led to major improvements in pay and conditions.
Zahid Majid has been dismissed from employment by Heathrow Express after a minor error, which he took full responsibility for, and which has led to the company taking unfair and disproportionate action in sacking him from his job.
The last strike by Heathrow Express staff resulted in the complete suspension of the Heathrow Connect service and a severely reduced Heathrow Express service. Management were forced to cover the service and some safety breeches were reported during the Management cover.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
The unfair and disproportionate punishment taken by management in both these cases is a total miscarriage of justice and that is reflected in these overwhelming ballot results for action. Management’s behaviour clearly demonstrates their willingness to victimise staff at the slightest provocation and no doubt they see this as payback for the successful building of a strong and militant union organisation within the company.
In both ballots members have sent out the clearest possible message to the company. RMT has informed Heathrow Express that the union remains available for talks in the hope that management will now see sense and take the necessary steps to resolve this dispute.
A spokesperson for Heathrow Express said:
We are disappointed the RMT chose to ballot its members for industrial action. The ballot centres around the suspension of one member of staff and the dismissal of another. The suspended employee has already returned to work and the dismissal was conducted via a fair and legitimate policy agreed with the Union. We hope Union members will recognise this and as always, we remain open for discussions with the RMT.