Bosses’ dirty tricks

Bosses are attempting to intimidate RMT activists. As part of this campaign, they have singled out Steve Hedley, a longstanding RMT militant, for intimidation. The Railworkers Rank and File Campaign reports

On Thursday July 2 a contractor’s van was driven straight at a picket line on Euston station. The next morning a Rail Maritime and Transport staff representative, Steve Hedley, was picked out as the person who broke the mirror on the van. The contractor described the person as wearing a bomber jacket, faded blue jeans and brown boots.

Luckily, Steve Hedley provided photographic evidence (a colour newspaper showing the previous day’s picket) which showed him in a blue jumper (wearing no jacket at all), having on dark blue jeans and wearing black shoes. Despite being arrested and questioned the police have not charged Steve with the alleged offence.

Management, on the other hand, are intent on sacking Steve Hedley. First, they suspended him but quickly reinstated him when a large number of staff took strike action in sympathy. Then they suspended him again despite promising that he could work at Willesden depot until they had made inquiries.

On Friday July 10, Steve was called to an investigation at Watford. When he showed the investigating manager his photographic evidence the manager said that “it was not relevant”, because “if 10 people saw a car crash they would describe 10 different things”. Steve pointed out that in the contractor’s statement to the police he said that he saw Steve clearly for 45 seconds. However, this was again considered “irrelevant” by the manager. The same manager described himself as totally independent despite the fact that he works for GTRM.

What is happening here is clear. Management are trying to break effective union organisation by intimidating and trying to sack staff representatives.

Steve Hedley was left in no doubt that he would be sacked after attending the ‘investigation’ where a further accusation of pushing a strike-breaker was also levelled against him. If this accusation were true, why didn’t the man involved inform the police straight-away instead of waiting a week? A likely explanation is that management’s attempted stitch-up will not have a chance in hell of standing up in a court of law but will be enough to secure a sacking in a GTRM kangaroo court.

If Steve Hedley is sacked GTRM will find it easier to intimidate other representatives. Bob Crow, assistant general secretary of the RMT, has said that current strikes will not be settled until Steve is reinstated.

In the coming weeks management will use every dirty trick, lies, slander and innuendo against Steve. Do not believe their lies. Do not allow management to sack a loyal RMT activist on trumped-up charges.