Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Gang of Three Behind Travel Chaos

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Gang of Three Behind Travel Chaos

Article excerpt


A TRIUMVIRATE of Left-wingers at the core of the RMT has driven the union to today's walkout, bringing chaos to the three million passengers who daily rely on the Underground.

London organiser Bobby Law is best known for an incident in 2001 when he was accused of headbutting a London Underground manager who crossed a picket line during a previous dispute.

LU banned Mr Law, 44, from its premises and refused to join any discussions about ending the strike in which he was involved. Mr Law insisted that he was assaulted in a fracas in which his glasses were broken. The headbutting claim was later dropped.

However, Mr Law's reputation as a trouble maker goes back at least a decade further to a dispute in 1990 triggered when he refused to accept a minicab sent by LU to take him to work for the early shift instead of the usual black taxi.

Mr Law was disciplined after turning away the cab on the grounds that he was not sure it was properly insured.

Former colleagues describe spiky haired Mr Law as a highly ambitious but short-tempered union official who few dare to cross.

He has been bitterly opposed to any moves to bring private companies into the Underground and stood in the first GLA elections on anti-PPP ticket.

One former RMT member described him as representative of "the most unpleasant face of British trade unionism". As a shop steward in 1995 he caused a split in the union by censuring then assistant general secretary Wilf Proudfoot for failing to push through a 48-hour Tube strike.

He became LU regional official for the RMT in the late Nineties and now runs the RMT's regional council "like a provisional revolutionary Government," according to one union insider, who added: "They behave as if they are in a permanent state of revolutionary struggle. …

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