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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 21:32 GMT
'Sacking' Tube strike ends
Hammersmith and City line
The Hammersmith and City line carries 55,000 people a day
A 24-hour strike by staff which caused serious disruption to two Tube lines has finished.

There was no service on the Circle line and only a shuttle service running between Hammersmith and Edgware Road on the Hammersmith and City line after the industrial action began at 2130 GMT on Thursday.

About 100 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) were striking in protest at the sacking of a union official.

The man was seen coming out of a squash club while on sick leave, but said he had been told to do more exercise to get over an injury.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow, who joined strikers on a picket line on Friday, told BBC London: "The fact is we can't allow for injustices to take place when our member was quite clearly told that he needed sports therapy to repair his ankle.

The Underground's occupational health doctors say that they would not advise someone off work with a sprained ankle to play squash
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone
"He went for that sports therapy and as a result of that he was sacked."

But LU said playing squash was "incompatible" with the reasons given for taking sick leave and said the appeals process had been exhausted.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said he fully supported the action taken by the management.

He claimed that since the sacked driver started working on the Underground in 1998 he had been off sick 20% of the time.

"On this occasion he was caught playing squash when he had been off work with a sprained ankle for months," said Mr Livingstone.

Further strikes

"The Underground's occupational health doctors say that they would not advise someone off work with a sprained ankle to play squash.

"I am only surprised he was allowed to get away with it for so long."

Union officials will be meeting in the next few days to decide their next move.

Tube commuters could see more industrial action in the run-up to Christmas in support of a row over safety.

The RMT raised concerns following the derailments at Camden Town and outside Hammersmith station.

The result of a ballot has been put back from next Monday to Thursday, partly due to the recent strikes by postal workers which led to mail delays.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC London's Lainy Mulcany
"The reality of the strike sank in early this morning"



SEE ALSO:
Tube strike threat over sacking
08 Oct 03  |  London
Mayor orders Tube safety inquiry
09 Sep 03  |  London


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