RMT members balloted over sacking of ticket inspector who had resisted assault by a passenger

Tim Lezard

Train ticketsRMT members are being balloted for strike action over the sacking of a London Midland ticket inspector who had resisted assault by a passenger.

The union says James Crabtree was working at Watford Junction station when he was verbally abused and physically pushed by a passenger whom it describes as ‘a menace’ and ‘well-known troublemaker’.

Officials say the passenger spat food on James Crabtree’s uniform, forcing him to push the man away in self-defence.

They accuse London Midland of “turning logic on its head” by dismissing James Crabtree  on “nonsensical charges”.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “London Midland display posters at their stations stipulating ‘we always prosecute those who intimidate and abuse or assault our staff.’

“Yet the company has failed miserably in their duty of care and support towards James Crabtree.

“Instead of protecting him, the company has dismissed him in the most blatant travesty of workplace justice – siding instead with a known troublemaker who is the kind of menace who should be barred from our railways

“RMT is clear that the trumped-up allegations levelled against James are unfounded and that the harsh decision taken by London Midland is not only intimidating but highly offensive towards a hardworking, loyal member of staff.

“RMT has therefore informed the company that a dispute situation now exists between our two organisations and that RMT demand the immediate reinstatement of James Crabtree.”

Officials say they are available for talks, but warn the union will not tolerate allowing rail staff to become “fair game for abuse and intimidation.”

The ballot is due to close on 16 April.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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