8 April 2021
RMT Press Office:
RMT to hold demonstration in Southampton on Monday 12 April over victimisation and sacking of leading bus activist.
BUS UNION RMT will be holding a demonstration over the victimisation of Southampton bus branch secretary Declan Clune who has been dismissed for reporting concerns to Network Rail around a bridge being struck by vehicles.
The protest will take place on Monday 12th April 2021 between 09:00 and 11:00 at Bargate, High Street, Southampton SO14 2DJ. The action will comply with all current Covid-19 rules and guidance.
The demonstration is part of a high-profile publicity campaign in support of Declan’s reinstatement by the employer, Bluestar. RMT is currently in dispute with the company and is balloting bus driver members for strike and other forms of industrial action.
At Declan's appeal and Director’s review the company upheld their earlier decision of dismissal for bringing the company into disrepute. No evidence has been forthcoming to explain what the loud banging noise has been when buses have passed under the bridge in question. Bluestar have denied that they failed to adhere to their own procedure and decided that Declan, in reporting the issue to Network Rail, could have influenced their opportunities for further business. The union says that this is total nonsense.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT will be holding a demonstration in Southampton on Monday to highlight the disgraceful victimisation and sacking of bus driver Declan Clune.
“Bluestar need to come to their senses and reverse the decision so that an industrial dispute is not needed. Declan was seeking to uphold high standards of safety to protect the travelling public. As workplace representatives selflessly come to the aid of members without a second thought it is every member's responsibility to come to theirs when attacked. That is why we have declared a dispute with the company, are balloting for action, and holding this protest.
“Bluestar now need to reinstate Declan.
“The Southampton District Bus & Coach Branch is supported by the union nationally in the campaign for Declan's reinstatement.”