RMT Stations & Revenue Council reps are deeply concerned about the posting on the internet of a film of a Customer Service Assistant allegedly behaving inappropriately towards a customer, and the resulting campaign for his dismissal.
The CSA concerned is not a member of RMT, and RMT reps will not comment on this CSA's actions. However, we feel that the internet and media campaign has potentially harmful consequences for all frontline London Underground staff, the big majority of whom are RMT members.
There is an established procedure through which passengers can complain about staff. Passengers have the right to have complaints considered, and staff accused of wrongdoing have the right to a fair investigation and hearing which takes into account the full circumstances and context of any alleged incident. However, many of the comments posted on the internet have demanded the CSA's dismissal without any reference to his right to fair hearing; some have threatened violence towards him; others have made generalised attacks on Tube staff as a whole; a few have even attacked RMT, despite the CSA concerned not even being a member!
London Underground must not allow itself to be pressured by this campaign into taking disciplinary action that it would not otherwise take. To do so would encourage more and more people to film staff at work, hoping to catch them appearing to behave inappropriately. This would undoubtedly lead to miscarriages of justice and would put staff under intolerable pressure in our day-to-day work.
Finally, we would remind people that frontline London Underground staff work very hard in very difficult conditions. Station staff work anti-social hours on under-staffed stations, yet every day provide high-quality service, assisting millions of passengers. While the vast majority of passengers are pleasant and polite, staff endure an unacceptable level of abuse and even physical assault from a minority. It is a shame that people seem less keen to post comments and videos on the internet opposing such abuse and/or acknowledging staff's good work than to highlight an occasional unpleasant incident.
Fair-minded people must stand up for a just disciplinary process, and therefore against public hounding of staff.